Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Maximum Book Burner

Few issues better illustrate how elements in ALA have subordinated the principles of librarianship to a nakedly political agenda than the question of Cuba. Many of those in the association and on ALA Council who are most adamant in their opposition to the PATRIOT Act seem all too understanding of Fidel Castro's need to prevent his people from reading the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Today, at FrontPage Magazine, Walter Skold has a devastating expose of ALA's hypocrisy on the Cuba issue:

Another annual Banned Books Week (BBW) ended just over a week ago, and some readers may have read news accounts about how the valiant efforts of librarians are saving our social fabric from rabid groups of theocratic, homophobic monsters just waiting to emerge from church basements and Conservative foundations to torch any book from any library that doesn’t meet their rigid doctrinal standards. The nationwide marketing campaign is promoted each year by a coalition of publishers, booksellers, and the American Library Association (ALA), and it usually gets heavy coverage in the press. Some of the rhetoric connected with the celebration is shrill, or hysterical, while in other cases librarians and writers are indeed trying to focus attention on ill-advised, unconstitutional and serious challenges to intellectual freedom and First Amendment freedoms in the United States, from left, right and center.

But amidst all the press releases and speeches and warnings about censorship and the threats to our freedoms to read under an authoritarian King George Bush, II, there is a troubling little matter that top ALA officials seemingly have no qualms about censoring. Now I happen to agree with many of my “liberal” or far-left library colleagues that there are very real potential threats to our liberties that increased secrecy and authority in government policies and capabilities represent, yet American should be asking why various leaders of the ALA are so timid, if not supportive, of a current squashing of liberties that is far more draconian than anything John Ashcroft has ever dreamed of.

Castro's Library Pass (Part I)

Today's piece by Walter is merely the first of a four part series, so you'll want to stay tuned.


Anonymous Ed Merwin, Jr. said...

An execellent post. I am looking forward to the follow up. I wonder if anybody in the ALA upper echelons has opened their minds, and "bookmark" to your information?

1:46 PM  

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