Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Steve Woolfolk-Honored by ALA but Charged by city

The Kansas City Public Library and a librarian who was arrested last year during a public event are receiving two national awards for defense of free speech....
Kansas City Library  wins the Paul Howard Award for Courage, given biannually for “unusual courage for the benefit of library programs or services.”
Steve Woolfolk, the library’s director of public programming, will receive the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity, named for the pen name of Daniel Handler, author of the “A Series of Unfortunate Events” books.
But the same week the awards were announced, city prosecutors filed two new charges against the librarian.
The awards and the charges stem from a May 9 incident in which the librarian, Steve Woolfolk, intervened to try to stop the arrest of library patron Jeremy Rothe-Kushel during the question-and-answer part of a talk by Middle East expert and diplomat Dennis Ross at the Plaza library.

some of what we knocked down were the load-bearing walls of our democracy

technology companies have routinely stashed profits overseas, destroyed local journalism and mid-tier publications of all sorts, and achieved a level of concentration that leaves us with Google, Facebook, and Amazon as essentially the companies controlling the working Internet.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Collective Memory and the Historical Past

Barash, Jeffrey Andrew. Collective Memory and the Historical Past. University of Chicago Press, 2016. 

Crucial to Barash’s analysis is a look at the radical transformations that the symbolic configurations of collective memory have undergone with the rise of new technologies of mass communication. He provocatively demonstrates how such technologies’ capacity to simulate direct experience—especially via the image—actually makes more palpable collective memory’s limitations and the opacity of the historical past, which always lies beyond the reach of living memory. Thwarting skepticism, however, he eventually looks to literature—specifically writers such as Marcel Proust, Walter Scott, and W. G. Sebald—to uncover subtle nuances of temporality that might offer inconspicuous emblems of a past historical reality.


Discussion at JHI Blog-April 17, 2017.
Andrew  Dunstall.

Barash bases his argument on a formal analysis of memory, symbols, and temporal intentionality. Finitude for him is a matter of logical form: living memory can only extend a certain length; the selection of what we remember is secondary for him. Finitude itself supplies no clear ethical principle, however. Which normative struggles, which injustices breathe life into “living memory”? Often such struggles far exceed that memory, as I have argued elsewhere. Barash, to my mind, implies these questions at various points, but does not make them explicit. Barash’s work is a provocative opening. When we come to reflect on our heritage, whether age-long or recent, the point is to choose what is worth preserving, and what needs changing.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Guidelines for Library Services to People Experiencing Homelessness

Guidelines for Library Services to People Experiencing Homelessness

The IFLA LSN and Working Group on Guidelines for Library Services to People Experiencing Homelessness invites you to review the draft of the Guidelines for Library Services to People Experiencing Homelessness.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Public Libraries as Instruments for Social and Political Activism

Image result for social responsibilities roundtable

Diedre Conkling is a  public librarian in Oregon who has spent most of her career working to encourage public libraries to embrace progressive social change, environmental issues, and politics and spurred them to be part of the movements that make those changes possible. She answers questions about the role public libraries should take in this time of great social and political upheaval in an interview with Sara Fiore in Public Libraries Online:

Public Libraries as Instruments for Social and Political Activism

Human Rights Video Project (classic project)

Human rights & Libraries history.

The Human Rights Video Project

The Human Rights Video Project was a grant opportunity for public libraries. Supported by a major grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation, the Human Rights Video Project awarded sets of 12 videos on human rights topics to 300 public libraries across the country.
Fifty libraries received grants through the Human Rights Video Project to present public programs on human rights topic in partnership with a non-profit community activist organization. These libraries received the sets of videos, supporting materials, and $750 to use to defray the cost of presenting the public program. An additional 250 libraries received 12 videos and supporting materials.
The video collection was selected by a panel of librarians, filmmakers, and human rights professionals and covers topics such as globalization and labor rights, landmines, the prison industry in the U.S., sexual violence in war, police brutality, disability rights, rights to education, justice for torture victims, globalization and International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies, post-apartheid South Africa, Israel/Palestine, AIDS in Africa, and U.S. immigration and political asylum. Some titles in the package are Behind the Labels (Witness Films, 2001), Every Mother's Son (Filmmakers, 2003), Calling the Ghosts (Women Make Movies, 1996), and Well-Founded Fear (The Epidavros Project, 2000).
Carmine Bell, “Libraries and Human Rights Education.” Catholic Library World 77 (December 2006): 112-20

Monday, April 3, 2017



Image result for prison libraries

A dissertation presented by Tammi Arford to The Department of Sociology and Anthropology In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the field of Sociology Northeastern University Boston, Massachusetts .

July, 2013 .

ABSTRACT Drawing from 162 surveys and 26 in-depth interviews with state prison librarians throughout the U.S., this research addresses the processes of censorship that occur in prison libraries, as well as the roles of the library and the librarian within the organization of the prison. Most state prisons have a library, though size and quality vary greatly from one institution to the next. Wardens and other administrators have a great deal of control over the way the library operates, as they make decisions concerning budget, space, and materials. The prison librarian is also an essential part of how a prison library functions and the kind of role it plays within the institution. Prison librarians often simultaneously experience conflict with security personnel who challenge the contents and purpose of the library, while also being expected to perform some type of security function themselves, thus leading to a situation in which they feel role conflict. While many librarians see the library as a rehabilitative tool, they argue that the majority of custody staff and administrators see it as a mechanism of social control, albeit one that they are less than enthusiastic to support with resources. Both formal and informal processes of censorship occur in the prison, and there is significant variation in which materials are censored from one institution to the next. A central thesis of this document is the notion that censorship constitutes an exercise of power. The practice of censorship occurs between human beings, yet it is also influenced by the organizational structure of the prison and the laws of the state, so that possible courses of action are structured (though not determined) for individuals within the organization. I create a typology of censored materials, which fall into two main categories: (1) items considered a risk to the safety and security of the institution, and (2) materials deemed to be ‘counter to the goal of rehabilitation’. A broad array of materials falls into each of these two categories. I also outline the primary justifications given for the censorship of each category of items.