Sunday, July 5, 2015

Blaming the Poor: The Long Shadow of the Moynihan Report on Cruel Images about Poverty

Blaming the Poor: The Long Shadow of the Moynihan Report on Cruel Images about Poverty. (Rutgers University Press, 2015).


n 1965, the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan—then a high-ranking official in the Department of Labor—sparked a firestorm when he released his report “The Negro Family,” which came to be regarded by both supporters and detractors as an indictment of African American culture. Blaming the Poor examines the regrettably durable impact of the Moynihan Report for race relations and social policy in America, challenging the humiliating image the report cast on poor black families and its misleading explanation of the causes of poverty.
A leading authority on poverty and racism in the United States, Susan D. Greenbaum dismantles Moynihan’s main thesis—that the so called matriarchal structure of the African American family “feminized” black men, making them inadequate workers and absent fathers, and resulting in what he called a tangle of pathology that led to a host of ills, from teen pregnancy to adult crime. Drawing on extensive scholarship, Greenbaum highlights the flaws in Moynihan’s analysis. She reveals how his questionable ideas have been used to redirect blame for substandard schools, low wages, and the scarcity of jobs away from the societal forces that cause these problems, while simultaneously reinforcing stereotypes about African Americans. Greenbaum also critiques current policy issues that are directly affected by the tangle of pathology mindset—the demonization and destruction of public housing; the criminalization of black youth; and the continued humiliation of the poor by entrepreneurs who become rich consulting to teachers, non-profits, and social service personnel.  
A half century later, Moynihan’s thesis remains for many a convenient justification for punitive measures and stingy indifference to the poor. Blaming the Poor debunks this infamous thesis, proposing instead more productive and humane policies to address the enormous problems facing us today.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Gay Marriage and Gay Pride in Hillsborough County Public Libraries

In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled on June 26, 2015 that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.

Look how far we have come. 10 years ago Hillsborough county libraries could  have a book display during Gay Pride month.

A book display recognizing Gay and Lesbian Pride Month was taken down in June 2005  at West Gate Regional Library (Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System) after some library patrons complained. Hillsborough County Commissioner Ronda Storms spearheaded a resolution  to seek a county policy banning public library displays that promote Gay Pride and Lesbian Pride Month.

These are the books that were displayed:

  • My Father’s Scar by Michael Cart
  • Hello, I Lied by M.E. Kerr
  • Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block
  • Girl Goddess, #9 by Francesca Lia Block
  • Talk To Me: Stories and a Novella by Carol Dines
  • Tomorrow Wendy: A Love Story by Shelley Stoehr
  • Breaking Boxes by A.M. Jenkins
  • My Heartbeat by Garret Freymann-Weyr
  • Empress of the World by Sara Ryan
  • Ironman by Chris Crutcher
  • Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
  • The Shell House by Linda Newberry
  • A Face in Every Window by Han Nolan
  • Am I Blue? Coming Out from the Silence by Marion Diane Bauer
  • Alice on the Outside by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • True Believer by Virginia Euewer Wolff
  • The Car by Gary Paulsen
  • Postcards from No Man’s Land by Aiden Chambers
  • Razzle by Ellen Wittlinger
  • Box Girl by Sarah Withrow
  • Eight Seconds by Jean Ferris

  • The Florida Library Association passed a resolution on July 21, 2005 not to hold any official meetings in Hillsborough County until commissioners rescind the policy.

    2nd anniversary read-in at July 5th, 2007 Bloomingdale Regional Public Library of the
    Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System  Valrico, Florida.

    On June 5, 2013  the resolution was repealed by the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners. The 7-0 vote on Commissioner Kevin Beckner's proposal ends an eight-year ban on Hillsborough County recognizing gay pride or supporting related events. The decision was met with applause and a standing ovation from supporters in the audience at County Center.

    Wednesday, June 24, 2015

    Libraries, Human Rights, and Social Justice: Enabling Access and Promoting Inclusion-NEW BOOK!

    Libraries, Human Rights, and Social Justice: Enabling Access and Promoting Inclusion examines the interrelationships between digital literacy, digital inclusion, and public policy, emphasizing the impacts of these policy decisions on the ability of individuals and communities to successfully participate in the information society.

    Jaeger, P. T., Taylor, N. G., & Gorham, U. (2015). Libraries, human rights, and social justice: Enabling access and promoting inclusion. Rowman and Littlefield.

     It is the first large-scale consideration of digital literacy and digital inclusion as policy problems and provides policy recommendations to promote digital literacy and digital inclusion.

    Friday, June 19, 2015

    Librarian Cynthia Hurd dedicated her life to books, educating others

    Librarian Cynthia Hurd dedicated her life to books, educating others.

    Ms. Hurd worked with the Charleston County’s libraries for 31 years, serving as branch manager of the John L. Dart Branch from 1990 to 2011 before becoming manager of the St. Andrews Regional Library, which county officials said Thursday would be named in her honor. Ms. Hurd graduated from Clark Atlanta University  and earned a master’s degree in library science from the University of South Carolina.

    Read more here:

    Librarian Cynthia Hurd was among the victims in the mass murder of nine people who gathered Wednesday night for Bible study at a landmark black church . This has shaken a city whose history from slavery to the Civil War to the present is inseparable from the nation’s anguished struggle with race.

    Donations in Ms. Hurd's memory may be made to the Charleston Public Library:
    Friends of the Charleston County Public Library

    There’s even an option to make it in memory/tribute to someone.

    Just to make sure that it is connected to the Charleston County Public Library, see the page at

    Thursday, June 18, 2015

    Book drive to highlight library services for people experiencing poverty and homelessness

    Diversity and Outreach Fair, book drive to highlight library services for people experiencing poverty and homelessness

    ala diversity and outreach fair
    – This year’s ALA Diversity and Outreach Fair, to be held from 3 – 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 27, 2015  in the Exhibits Special Events Area highlights innovations in library services to people experiencing poverty and homelessness. Additionally, two task forces of the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) have joined forces with a wide array of member groups and the San Francisco Public Library to coordinate a book drive which benefits over five bay area community organizations.   Book donations will be accepted from June 26-29 in specially-marked bins throughout the conference campus, at the DEMCO booth and at the Diversity & Outreach Fair.  Help us take immediate action to serve people that go without such basics as shelter, food, healthcare and literacy support in the midst of San Francisco’s striking prosperity by selecting a book from the list at and donating it to the book drive. 
    Conference attendees are encouraged to bring one new book from the list of recommended titles for donation to designated Bay Area organizations providing shelters, support and transitional housing for youth and families. The goal of the book drive is to collect a range of excellent titles that include books for diverse backgrounds and identities. The donations will be collected in coordination with the San Francisco Public Library to benefit local organizations including Compass Family Shelter, the Providence Foundation of San Francisco, the Berkeley Food and Housing Project, YEAH! (Youth Engagement, Advocacy, and Housing), Homeless Prenatal Program, Westside Community Services and Home Away from Homelessness.   
    For more information, and to view the list of suggested donation titles, please visit the Diversity & Outreach Fair page at

    Monday, June 8, 2015

    China cites rural libraries in report card on human rights

    Citing improved rural library services and indoor cinemas along with a deluge of other information, China praised its human rights record in a lengthy report card on Monday, its latest bid to deflect Western criticism.

    Thursday, June 4, 2015

    Do Human Rights Increase Inequality?

    "Whatever its potential in theory, the human rights movement adapted in practice to the new ambiance. For one thing, the idea of human rights followed the transformation of political economy to a global outlook. Further, activists no longer gave priority to the agency of states to launch and manage national welfare but rather to the rights of individuals to be free from harm and to enjoy a rudimentary government that averts disaster and abjection. In the economic realm, social equality was forsaken as an ideal. In exchange for its cosmopolitanism, the human rights movement abandoned postwar egalitarianism in both theory and practice."

    Samuel Moyn is a professor of law and history at Harvard Law School. He is the author of The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History (Harvard University Press, 2010). His new book, Christian Human Rights, is to be published next year by the University of Pennsylvania Press.