Thursday, June 16, 2005

Solidarity rights-draft

Public Library Services in the United States as Solidarity Rights (need dif.title)


Katharine J. Phenix and Kathleen de la Peña McCook

Public libraries in the United States have exhibited continual progress in the expansion of services since the establishment of this public good in the mid-nineteenth century. While the discourse about public library services among its practitioners has evolved along the lines of general progressive thought, this discourse has been framed in a fashion that reflects U.S. values and has largely refrained from describing services using the language of human rights. The reasons for this have much to do with political decisions made outside of librarianship that nevertheless have affected the way U.S. librarians describe and activate services. Thus, while we assert that U. S. public libraries do provide services that are reflective of human rights we also recognize that the connections to the larger global discourse have yet to be made in a clear manner.

This is especially true for the category of rights we call social and cultural that are named as solidarity rights by the organizers of this volume. Solidarity rights or third generation rights as a concept in international human rights development have been seldom discussed in that language among U.S. librarians. However, librarians have had a longstanding commitment to the modes of service that could be characterized solidarity rights as evidenced by the American Library Association’s establishment of the Office for Library Service to the Disadvantaged in 1970. The work of U.S. librarians has evolved in a mode that incorporates human rights values and precepts without having used the discourse that characterizes the philosophical and ethical precepts of human rights and human development.
What we seek to do is this essay is to identify the instruments that provide the foundation for solidarity rights and then demonstrate the ways in which U.S. public librarians can begin to describe the work they have been doing in language that will enable them to claim their place among nations. We will present and review what we call the Rhombus model of Librarians and Human Rights.


The model helps us visualize the huge body of work that has already been done on social, economic and cultural rights and its shape helps us visualize the support structure that upholds our work as librarians bound to support and inform these rights.. Our focus is on public librarians in the United States. We will discuss three areas that illuminate the social and cultural aspects of public library service as illuminated by integration of human rights concepts.

1) a brief discussion of the work to support Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as the point of a philosophical crystallization to human rights ;
2) a broad discussion of the instruments that provide the foundation for librarians’ role in activating other articles in the UDHR;
3) the point of activation of service by librarians informed by a human rights philosophy.

U.S. Librarians and Article 19

"Article 19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
--Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

Public librarians have many supporting materials in their repertory as they endeavor to promote the principles of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in practice. The American Library Association is on record as supporting 1st and 2nd generation human rights since the Library Bill of Rights was adopted on June 18th, 1948, six months before the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was signed. Commitment to the right to expression had been codified in Section 53. Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association Policy Manual as 53.1 The Library Bill of Rights.
These sentiments are further supported by the ALA Policy Manual Section 58. International Relations. Policy objectives cited therein include encouragement of the exchange, dissemination, and access to information and the unrestricted flow of library materials in all formats throughout the world and the promotion and support of human rights and intellectual freedom worldwide.
The Association voted and approved the language of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19 with the adoption of Policy 58.4 and 58.4.1:

58.4 Article 19 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.
58.4.1 Human Rights and Freedom of Expression
The ALA shall work with other associations and institutions that belong to IFLA to develop positions and programmatic plans of action in support of human rights and freedom of expression. The president or the member officially representing the Association at IFLA conferences shall be directed to support and carry them out; and, in the absence of such specific direction, the president or the member officially representing the Association at IFLA conferences is empowered to vote on new IFLA resolutions related to human rights and freedom. Their votes shall be guided by ALA’s adoption of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the good of the Association.

The Resolution on IFLA, Human Rights, and Freedom of Expression, was passed by ALA Council on July 2nd, 1997. It again highlights the UDHR Article 19 and ALA's endorsement of it. It states, quite simply: “Librarians worldwide made a commitment to promote and defend human rights in relation to information access in 1997 when the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) voted to establish the Committee on Free Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE)”.

Because the American Library Association has taken stands on Article 19 it is from the departure point of Article 19—we place on top of the Rhombus that opens the way to review other human rights instruments that can be used to describe library services.


U.S. librarians have tended to encounter the tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) via Article 19 which seems to most to align with the values of library workers, but Article 19 is the first codification that leads to a far more expansive recognition fo the connections of the UDHR to library services. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is actually a part of the International Bill of Human Rights, which also contains the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) (1966) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (1966). These documents share the same roots, but after the UDHR was drafted, the other covenants were considered separately, addressing the two types of rights. As Amnesty International notes:

"On one side the achievement of economic, social and cultural rights (an adequate standard of living, education, health care, and income protection) was presented as requiring a political commitment to socialism. On the other, civil and political rights (the right to vote, free expression, legal representation) were portrayed as a luxury that could only be afforded once a certain level of economic development had been achieved."

A recent discussion in Human Rights Quarterly frames the complex myth regarding third generation and solidarity rights concepts toward which the West is often viewed as indifferent or hostile. The authors note: “Even many who insist on the interdependence and indivisibility of all human rights, and thus the fully equal status of economic and social rights, help to perpetuate the myth by accepting the three generations, three worlds story that has become the hegemonic narrative about "universal, indivisible, and interrelated" human rights in many international human rights circles.” We would like to suggest that librarians review the history of the adoption of economic and social rights to gain an understanding of the degree to which these values are integrated into the daily work of librarians.

Moving from the realm of human rights scholarship to a broad U.S. audience we see that Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1967 and stated: "I think it is necessary to realize that we have moved from the era of Civil Rights to the era of human rights. When you deal with human rights you are not dealing with something clearly defined in the Constitution. They are rights that are clearly defined by the mandates of a humanitarian concern.". To understand King’s meaning we need to review the growing body of conventions and other instruments that were enacted in the post-World War II twentieth century to move the world to a realization of human rights in full.

Some of the major human rights instruments created through the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAS) include
• Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1951)
• The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1963)
• The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (1979)
• The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1987)
• The Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)
• Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers and Their Families (1990)

Some of these rights are acknowledged and protected by laws in the United States, but others are not present in American legal jurisprudence, although economic, social and cultural rights are now recognized as enforceable in the courts (justiciable) under both national and international law. As noted most passionately in Something So Strong: A Resource Guide of Human Rights in the United States
"Human rights conceives of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights as interdependent, transcending the current U.S. rights framework that often pits disadvantaged groups against one another. Applying a human rights framework puts the power of rights back into the hands of the people who possess those rights, whether or not they are recognized in domestic law."
The USA has stated that
"at best, economic, social and cultural rights are goals that can only be achieved progressively, not guarantees. Therefore, while access to food, health services and quality education are the top of any list of development goals, to speak of them as rights turns the citizens of developing countries into objects of development rather than subjects of in control of their own destiny"

Much international discussion that activates and realizes the philosophical aspects of human rights has been made part of the public sphere by variouis conferences and programs of UNESCO. Since the United States left UNESCO in 1983 and did not rejoin until 2004, the progress of human rights and their interpretations in this country has been interrupted. United States citizens have not been kept informed of the inter-relatedness of the 2nd and 3rd generations of rights which have become more prominent since the late 1980s.

On 25 June 1993, representatives of 171 States adopted by consensus the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Conference on Human Rights

Millennium Goals- In September 2000, building upon a decade of major United Nations conferences and summits, world leaders came together at United Nations Headquarters in New York to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration,

On 8 September 2000 all the members of the United Nations agreed to fulfil eight Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
They committed to:
1. eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. achieve universal primary education
3. promote gender equality and empower women
4. reduce child mortality
5. improve maternal health
6. combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
7. ensure environmental sustainability
8. develop a global partnership for development

Human Development Index: [2000 report]

Human rights and human development share a common vision and a common purpose—to secure, for every human being, freedom, well-being and dignity. Divided by the cold war, the rights agenda and development agenda followed parallel tracks. Now converging, their distinct strategies and traditions can bring new strength to the struggle for human freedom. Human Development Report 2000 looks at human rights as an intrinsic part of development—and at development as a means to realizing human rights. It shows how human rights bring principles of accountability and social justice to the process of human development.

The instruments developed since the UDHR clearly connect the interdependency of all these rights. UNESCOs Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, adopted 2 months after 9/11 stated "Cultural rights are an integral part of human rights, which are universal, indivisible, and independent". Much of the literature connects them … for example

"the [right] to identity entails minority rights (ICCPR 27), freedom in arts and sciences (ICESR 15) and freedoms of thought, religion and opinion (ICCPR 18, 19)

Using this connectivity argument, Weeramantry concludes that "if there is in reality in human rights at any level it must necessarily follow that access to the information appropriate to the exercise of that right becomes a right in itself . And as the UNESCO declaration continues in Article 6
While ensuring the free flow of ideas by word and image care should be exercised that all cultures can express themselves and make themselves known. Freedom of expression, media pluralism, multilingualism, equal access to art and to scientific and technological knowledge, including in digital form, and the possibility for all cultures to have access to the means of expression and dissemination are the guarantees of cultural diversity.
JPEgs Katharine sent.

IFLA advocates a global information commons through which all people will be enabled to seek and
impart information. Its realisation requires, at a minimum, ubiquitous access to sufficient affordable
bandwidth, up to date and affordable ICTs, unrestricted multilingual access to information and skills
development programs to enable all to both access information and disseminate their own while
respecting the fundamental right of human beings to both access and express information without
restriction. .

Four of the instruments drawn up by unesco deal with facilitating the international circulation of visual and auditory materials of an edu, sci, or cultural character...
kmccook1: instruments again
kmccook1: that can be a good link..this you are putting in now
kjpnenix: the importation of educationa, sci, and cul materials, the international exchange of publications and the exchange of official publications and government documents between States.
kmccook1: page number?
kjpnenix: The right thus broadens out into the area of all edu, cul, sci ino and of all publications generally
kmccook1: whas that the 4?
kjpnenix: p.255
kmccook1: do they ahve names?

Article 30 provides for disclosure via the Internet, the mass media, offi cial publications, and libraries and other public information centres. Article 31 provides generally that disclosure should be in a manner thatallows everyone to access the information as soon as possible. Where a special means of disclosure isenvisaged by a law or international agreement, it shall be respected. Information relating to a threat tolife, health, property, the environment or other matters of signifi cant public interest must be disclosedimmediately via the mass media and Internet, with a view to mitigating any risk.
kjpnenix is typing a message.
kjpnenix: The UN Special Rapporteur signifi cantly expanded his commentary on the right to information in his 2000Annual Report to the Commission, noting its fundamental importance not only to democracy and freedom,but also to the right to participate and to realisation of the right to development.2424

while mandating that they allow "access to diverse cultural expressions from within their territory as well as from other countries of the world
Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

US is anti-UNESCO, but that globally beyond is cultural rights
Last message received on 6/9/2009 at 11:45 AM
kmccook1: astute and something we wouldn't have been able to conceptualize a week ago

[PROBABLY TOO MUCH INFO…. He first decribes the range of applications to the concept of the right to know. On the one hand there is national sovereignty and classified information, also transborder data flow, satellite broadcasts, the New World Information Order and international protection of intellectual property. On the other hand there is a consumer's right to know, academic records, professional and medical confidences, the right of accused persons to information regarding charges; the right of prisoners to issue and receive correspondence, the right to interpretation in criminal proceedings, the right of access to one's personal case records, and so forth. He continues with a three-tiered analysis.
1. At the highest level, world peace depends on international goodwill, which is in turn dependent on public opinion within nation states. Citizens make decisions based on what they are allowed to know about global happenings. Distorted information causes distorted or unbalanced attitudes. At this level "if peace is a human right, it can be argued that the information that peace depends on is also a human right."
2. Democracy rests on the consent of the governed. If citizens have a right to participate, they have the right to the information needed to participate in an informed manner.
3. Individual rights, such as the right to health, means a corresponding right to information related to food additives or damage to the environment by agencies that cause it.]

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Libraries

HERES WHERE I START TO LOSE IT BECAUSE ITS BEEN 10 HOURS AND I AM STILL NOT FINISHED We use Stephen Hansen’s essay, “The Right to Take Part in Cultural Life” as point of departure to examine the implications of these this rights in the context of the U.S. public library in 2009. He approaches "culture" from several standpoints. His [Hansen] rights relating to culture is described as concerning creativity, including the visual arts, literature, music, dance, theater at its highest achievement. In Western society, the cultural rights inferred here are those relating to the commercial access to these achievements. Individuals are free to participate, subject, of course, to economic constraints. A second approach is his rights to a culture, which focus on the conservation and preservation of culture, as well as the right to have access and participate in it. It is within this context that UNESCO's Recommendation on the Participation by the People at Large In Cultural Life and their Contribution to It states that culture means "opportunities available to everyone, in particular, through the creation of the appropriate socio-economic conditions, for freely obtaining information, training, knowledge and understanding, and for enjoying cultural values and cultural property. Sounds like a public library to me.
What is the stance of the policy makers and governing bodies of libraries today in relation to economic social and cultural rights? Certainly the work done to ensure access to a culture, by ensuring the civil rights of groups, are visible in the historical work to pressure libraries to integrate…In the Policy Manual, Section 52 on Services and Responsibilities of Libraries access is directly mentioned in 52.2.1 Preservation, in 52.4.3 Immigrants' Rights of Free Public Library Access, Furthermore, the American Library Association's "Interpretations" of the Library Bill of Rights directly address services to groups.

ALA's "Interpretations" of the Library Bill of Rights. These include, but are not limited to, services to identified groups such as . Examples of solidarity groups, which, if organized would be a formidable underclass, but are reached out to by libraries are minors are

9.5 Relationships with Organizations Violating Human Rights
The American Library Association shall have no affiliation with, memberships in, or formal relationships with organizations which violate ALA principles and commitments to human rights and social justice asset forth in ALA’s policies, procedures, and position statements and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
58.3 Abridgment of the Rights of Freedom of Foreign Nationals
Threats to the freedom of expression of any person become threats to the freedom of all; therefore ALA adopts as policy the principles of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. The Association will address the grievances of foreign nationals where the infringement of their rights of free expression is clearly a matter in which all free people should show concern. Resolutions or other documents attesting to such grievances will be brought to the attention of the Executive Board and Council by the ALA International Relations Committee.
(See ‘‘Current Reference File’’: Policy on Abridgment of the Rights of Freedom of Foreign Nationals and Freedom of Expression of Foreign Nationals; Abridgement of Human Rights in South Africa:1985- 86 CD #58.)
60.3 Combating Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination
The American Library Association actively commits its programs and resources to those efforts that combat prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination against individuals and groups in the library profession and in library user populations on the basis of race, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, creed, color, religious background, national origin, language of origin or disability. Nothing in the Resolution on Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination authorizes censoring, expurgation, or restrictive labeling of materials. Actions and programs to raise the awareness of library users to any problem or condition would not be in conflict with the Library Bill of Rights when they are free of any element of advocacy. Both documents respect the rights of all who use libraries to do so freely and without being subjected to pressure or censorship from within the institution.

3) Support anti-racism work within the broader society by monitoring, evaluating and advocating for human rights and equity legislation, regulations, policy and practice.
Thus, the American Library Association will endeavor to ensure full representation of all racial groups and have this reflected in its policies, procedures, and programs, as well as in its relations with staff, members, stakeholders, and the community at large, thereby reaffirming its commitment to diversity, inclusiveness, and mutual respect for all human beings.

Middle of the Rhombus


And How This Plays Out at the Local Level

all MIL GOALS connected

“The Millennium Development Goals are about inclusion and working together at a global level to achieve a common vision. Libraries can help with this. Library staff have expertise to contribute to the global initiative of the Millennium Development Goals, in partnership with other groups of workers and thinkers.
Libraries are integral to community development. They provide access to information and works of imagination in a variety of formats and languages. Libraries contribute to social capital and social inclusion, making communities with libraries stronger than communities without them. Libraries have crucial roles in facilitating democracy and civil rights. They are places for people who read, or who are learning to read, or who do not read. There is a space for each member of a community in a library. Libraries are integral to the Millennium Development Goals being achieved.” (Forsyth)

ROI tools

how bout those 18 service goals?
libraries and cultural heritage : democratising culture, creating knowledge and building bridges : report on the workshop held at the CONFINTEA V Mid-term Review Conference, Bangkok, Thailand, September 2003 / edited by Jutta Thinesse-Demel

Examples of solidarity groups, which, if organized would be a formidable underclass, but are reached out to by libraries are minors are

• Minors: "Free Access to Libraries for Minors" and "Access for Children and Young Adults to Nonprint Materials"
• GLBT: "Access to Library Resources and Services Regardless of Sex, Gender Identity, or Sexual Orientation"
• ESL and/or non-English speaking : "Diversity in Collection Development"
• Immigrants, People of Color [UDHR. Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status
• Poor, homeless and unemployed: "Economic Barriers to Information Access"
• People with Disabilities

In my dim view, trying to apply the concept of 3rd generation human rights to the mission of the public library is to impose some sort of oppositional model between the "institution" and the "groups" those whose group rights we attempt to promote. In fact, there is no opposition, instead a sincere and fundamental premise, raison d^etre , movement to identify and include all inhabitants of a service community.

Public libraries from the first have been looking out for the social, economic and cultural rights of its community. It is already hard wired into the way we think about our service. This point is nicely and obliquely made by Thomas Clay Templeton as he thinks about the library as "place" either physically or virtually. He writes

Place reminds us to tailor our professional work to the shifting concerns,
and indeed the shifting criteria, of our shifting constituencies, rather than
to a placeless professional vision of what librarianship, society, and literacy should be. The places of libraries in the lives of people are places we evolve together; otherwise the library is a site of domination or a hopeless utopian dream, literally “no place.”

Exploring the history of public librarianship reveals in its broadest form a continued awareness of its social and economic constituencies made up of diverse groups. Three specific constituencies occupied the better part of the 20th century and defined new specializations in the profession. They are from the first, the library responding to the call to further democracy and individual rights by becoming the people's university.

Another telling proof that libraries are already facing up to their responsibility to provide services not just to individuals but to the demands of a coalesced clump of people is the terminology association with 21st century public libraries
The practice of public librarianship in the twenty-first century United States as conceived by those involved in the development of the Public Library Association “New Planning for Results” model is about managing change. The 2008 guide, Strategic Planning for Results, identified eighteen service responses that were selected by public librarians through several years of meetings and interactive discussion. These eighteen service responses will guide the practice of public librarianship in the United States for the next decade….
Looking through the lens of human rights agency, and call to focus on human rights librarianship in respect to groups, each of these responses can be seen to advance
1) “Be an Informed Citizen: Local, National and World Affairs;”
Some obvious examples here. Voting places; Active Minds programs; ALA Worlds Connect (National Library Week); Kranich
2) “Build Successful Enterprises: Business and Nonprofit Support;”
Economic gardening;
3) Celebrate Diversity: Cultural Awareness;”
See B Ford in Portable MLIS: reach out to community groups reflecting other cultures and countries and celebrate that diversity with speakers, exhibits films and special performances. Plan programs, displays and fairs around international holidays; United Nations, and world commemorative days. Sponsor a series of lecturs or presentations on different countries or world relgions. Invite returned Peace Corps volunteers, Fulbright Scholars or others with international experience to speak.
4) “Connect to the Online World: Public Internet Access;”
Interesting finding of Public Agenda's "Long Overdue: A Fresh Look at Public and Leadership Attitudes About Libraries in the 21st Century". "Two thirds of survey respondents say that having enough computers and online services for people should be a high priority for their local library. More than 6 in 10 favor wiring libraries so that those who may not be able to afford computers in their home can learn computer skills and get online. And those who think that libraries are just becoming the information sources of last resort for those who can't afford a home computer seem to be mistaken. Advanced computer users and families with higher incomes are even more likely to use public libraries and the technology services they offer.
5) ”Create Young Readers: Early Literacy;”
6) “Discover Your Roots: Genealogy and Local History; “
7) “Express Creativity: Create and Share Content;”
8)” Get Facts Fast: Ready Reference;”
9) “Know Your Community: Community Resources and Services;“
10) “Learn to Read and Write: Adults, Teens and Family Literature; “
11) “Make Career Choices: Job and Career Development;”
12) “Make Informed Decisions: Health, Wealth and Other Life Choices; “
13) “Satisfy Curiosity: Lifelong Learning; “
14) “Stimulate Imagination: Reading, Viewing and Listening for Pleasure;”
15) “Succeed in School: Homework Help;”
16) “Understand How to Find, Evaluate, and Use Information: Information Fluency; “
17) “Visit a Comfortable Place: Physical and Virtual Spaces;”
18)”Welcome to the United States: Services for New Immigrants.”
Public libraries also create value, which in turn, advances the economic status of the neighborhood. This can be seen in several ways. The first is as ROI and there are plenty of studies about that I haven't paid attention to. The second is something I learned about from Mary Dempsey, when she spoke at CAL. Branches of the CPL go into blighted neighborhoods as beautiful buildings and change the whole atmosphere and economic possibilities. Chicago Public Library. "Building a library in a neighborhood can transform the neighborhood. In neighborhood after neighborhood, Chicago's new libraries have demonstrated their power to transform. Not only does library use soar, the neighborhoods themselves are revitalized. Aldermen now vie to have new or renovated libraries in their neighborhoods--and community residents sing their praises". Further, Mayor Daley says "What you see is many times businesses will do something in and around the library. [For example,] they will open a coffee shop. People [realize] the city invested X amount of money, whether it's 8 or 10 or 12 million dollars. That's a big investment. Then retail thinks, "The city is investing here. We should start investing here."
The history of the public library is nothing if not a struggle to find our place as a service organization to a diverse public. This is not a picture of an institution imposing its views and values on an unsuspecting population.

Invoked expansively, place invites us to bracket our sensitivities, momentarily
considering, with attention undivided, the situations by which
we are involved in life. An a priori notion of the “user” is too abstract for
the immediacy of place; here we are all involved in a self-sustaining imperative
to weave together sense [4]. The information scape we are weaving
is dynamic in its organization, imperfectly visible from any perspective,
and without a coherent end state. We will create, traverse, respect, and
enforce its boundaries according to unpredictable principles.
Place reminds us to tailor our professional work to the shifting concerns,
and indeed the shifting criteria, of our shifting constituencies, rather than
to a placeless professional vision of what librarianship, society, and literacy should be. The places of libraries in the lives of people are places we evolve
together; otherwise the library is a site of domination or a hopeless utopian
dream, literally “no place.”
The villains of the place story, in librarianship and elsewhere, are technologists
and capital, but what librarian serves people who enjoy freedom
from a salary and whose relationship with technology is a matter of personal
whim? Narrowly construed, the library as place has served as an ideological
touchstone, a reservoir of semantic potential available to obscure complicated
and specific relationships among the body of people and things that
constitute the life (and whose deterioration prefigures the death) of a library

Social Expression---Facebook, MySpace; Nashua New Hampshire After Hours Networking
Economic; Excel; eMail;
Cultural Expression--Is there time for this? Picturing America? Museum examples from Kathleen

Exploring the relationship between public libraries and 3rd generation human rights…rights as an individual's claim on society

UNESCO Public Library Manifesto states that "the public library, the local gateway to knowledge, provides a basic condition for lifelong learning, independent decision making and cultural development of the individual and social groups. (

Once known as the people's university, the public library has also performed the role of the peoples' office, and now the people's IT center. As reported in Long Overdue: A Fresh Look at Libraries in the 21st Century the "opportunities to do more": are to provide
• a safe and engaging place for teens
• literacy skills for a strong workforce
• center for community information
• greater access to technology

Cultural Programming for Libraries
For a library to fulfill its mission to provide community engagement and cultural dialogue, diverse, excellent cultural programming is the key
Top 10 reasons:
10. Programming and community outreach are important roles for the library as a community center
9. Interpretation of the collection is an important role
8. Everybody is doing it
7. It's easy to get money
6. Gains visibility for the llbrary
5. Boosts circulation
4. Rewarding, enriching, and satisfying for librarian and audience
3. Intergenerational enjoyment
2. Fosters bonding with your co-workers
1. A great way to meet other librarians

PUBLIB electronic discussion group buzzes with "do you provide your patrons with a) a fax machine, b) a scanner, c) USB/Memory stick/Flash drives. We are also asking each other "how do you serve your unemployed" The new new pathfinder is "Step by Step on MS-Office Resume Wizard" and "How to Set Up A Free eMail Account in (Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, GMail) .

Next to the bus route schedules we display the Denver Post Classifieds Job Kiosk.

Mary Dempsey, Chicago Public Library Commissioner "It's fine to say that Google is Google-izing the world" but if you're poor and trying to apply for a job, often the only way to do it is online and the only place to do it is at the public library."

A librarian lurks on a perch, or, at a rare moment, sits at a public service desk. Two adults meet around a corner. "Hi!" Person A exclaims. "I just got laid off today, too".

The "curious contradiction"…"Librarians of the nineteenth century were constantly and, one might say, painfully being reminded of the latest needs of their working class public. They were faced with a curious contradiction: In periods of economic stress when appropriations were pruned down, enforced idleness resulted in an increased pressure on their resources….The library management at Lawrence, Massachusetts was so sensitive to the ebb and flow of local business activities that one gets a fair picture of fluctuating economic fortunes of the city by reading the library reports. In 1874 we are told that the registration figures were not likely to increase because of the transient nature of the populations in manufacturing cities, but the closing of the mills, or some similar cause, might result in a considerable increase in circulation. Compare with "Libraries See More Use, Less Funding" about the Troy Public Library and "Library use increases dramatically as economy sags, funding declines . The library in Brookline, Massachusetts was proud to provide a rendezvous for the unemployed…called "a safe asylum for hands and brains that might, through forced idleness and discouragement, be led to harm".

"We already know that through their power to educate and to inspire, libraries level the playing field for underserved communities. It is the library that opens the door to life-changing books and provides access to the world beyond our communities. Perhaps most importantly, libraries exist as centers of culture, community and learning," he wrote in a December 2008 piece for The Huffington Post. "As the nation continues to experience a sharp and jarring economic downturn, local libraries are providing valuable free tools and resources to help Americans of all ages through this time of uncertainty."
The data backs him up. A September 2008 Harris Poll found that around 75 percent of Americans have a library card and have visited their local public library in the past year, an increase from 65 percent about two years ago. The same poll showed that 92 percent Americans "view their local library as an important education resource," and about 70 percent cited their local library as either "a pillar of the community," a "community center," a "family destination," or a "cultural center." Also, "Libraries Stand Ready to Help in Tough Economic Times"

Stephan P. Edwards and I
are collaborating on the publication of an edited collection on libraries
and third generation human rights, also referred to as group rights. We are
focusing specifically on the role that libraries play in establishing,
protecting, preserving, and symbolizing cultural, social, and economic

As in Depression, strained libraries give lifeline during tough times Sunday, March 22, 2009, Page: UW4A young Juanita Rarick found refuge at the Howe Library in Albany's South End during the Great Depression. There, the girl could escape the instability of the world outside. "I'd sit there and read quite a bit, maybe a couple of hours," an 88-year-old Rarick told me last year when I wrote about the Howe. Sadly, she passed away last summer, but I remembered how she spoke fondly about the sanctuary the library provided -- a sharp contrast to what was going on in Albany and the country. "

The United States sought a seat on the UN Human Rights Council at this time to underscore our commitment to human rights and to join the efforts of all those nations seeking to make the Council a body that fulfills its promise. We deeply appreciate the support of all UN member states that endorsed our bid. We pledge to work closely with the international community to ensure that together we address the pressing human rights concerns of our time.

Libraries supporting societies

A lot of people in small towns really rely on their libraries and our library is vibrant and lively, said Mary Pasek Williams, director of the Towanda District LIbrary
kjpnenix: WEre the center of Town, said Lori Priebe, Directoer of Danvers township library

Public librarians in the twenty-first century will be organizing their work from a viewpoint that a world view with a human rights perspective will move librarians to work passionately on behalf of human capabilities. (McCook and Phenix, 2008, p. 33).

Millennials want
to end the culture wars; move America’s foreign policy toward a more cooperative and
multilateral approach; rebuild a strong, positive role for government; achieve universal
health care; reform and expand America’s educational system; start the transition to a
clean energy economy; and much more. If progressive governance can achieve these
objectives, the loyalty of this generation to the progressive cause seems assured.
New Progressive America:
The Millennial Generation
David Madland and Ruy Teixeira May 2009
Washington, D.C> Cenetr for American Progress.

[F-1]. We recognize that the public library is an evolving institution. We recognize that the manifestation of public librarianship differs from nation to nation. We speak only about that which we know—the U.S. public library. See our essay “Public Librarianship” in Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences, third edition. Taylor and Francis, 2010.

American Library Association. (1995). Code of Ethics. Retrieved July 10, 2006 from
American Library Association. (2004). Core values statement. Retrieved June 5, 2006, from
American Library Association. Policy Manual. Retrieved June 5, from
American Library Association. International Relations Office. (1997). Resolution on IFLA, Human Rights and Freedom of Expression. Retrieved July 10, 2006, from
American Library Association. (2002). Office for Intellectual Freedom. Intellectual freedom manual. (5th ed.) Chicago. American Library Association.
American Library Association. Office for Intellectual Freedom. (1999). Libraries: An American value. Retrieved August 26, 2006, from
American Library Association. Office for Intellectual Freedom (1991). Universal Right to Free Expression. Retrieved August 29, 2006, from

Byrne, Alex. The Politics of Promomnting Freedome of Information and Expression in International Librarianship: The IFLA/FAIFE Project. ( Lanham, Md.: The Scaercrow Press, 2007).

Forsythe, Ellen. “Public Libraries and the Millennium Development Goals “IFLA Journal 31 2005 (315-23).

Hansen, Stephen A. “The Right to Take Part in Cultural Life,” in Human Rights in the World Community, third ed., eds. Richard Pierre Claude and Burns H. Weston,(Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006), pp.223-232.

McCook, Kathleen de la Peña and Katharine J. Phenix, “Human Rights, Democracy and Librarians,” in The Portable MLIS ed. By Ken Haycock and Brooke Sheldon. (Libraries Unlimited, 2008), pp. 23-34..

Mendel, Toby. Freedom of Information: A Comparative Legal Survey. 2nd. Ed. (Paris:UNESCO, 2008).

Phenix, Katharine J. and Kathleen de la Peña McCook. 2005. "Human rights and librarians." Reference and User Services Quarterly 45.

Samassékou, Adama. “The Promise of Information and Communication Societies,” Rikke Frank Jorgenesen (Ed.), Human rights in the global Information society, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006. p. vii.

UN Millennium development goals (MDG). Retrieved June 8, 2009 from

United Nations. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 1948.

Weeramantry, C.G. Justice Without Frontiers: Furthering Human Rights. The Hague: Klewer Law International, 1997.

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