"ALA recognizes its broad social responsibilities. The broad social
responsibilities of the American Library Association are defined in terms
of  the contributions that librarianship can make in ameliorating or
solving the critical problems of society;  support for efforts to help
inform and educate the people of the United States on these problems and
to encourage them to examine the many views on and the facts regarding
each problem; and  the willingness of ALA to take a position on current
critical issues with the relationship to libraries and library service set
forth in the position statement."
From Section 1.1 of American Library Association Policy Manual
To what extent should librarians work to solve the critical problems of society? I assert that a human rights perspective is the way that 21st century librarians must look at the world and practice our craft. Libraries have long been the willing tools of democracy. I’d like to review the traditional wisdom and canon of the importance of the library in a democratic society, but wish to take us further in an understanding of the larger issues we face in our chosen field.
The foundational ideas of the public library recognize that a democratic society relies on an informed citizenry and that educated citizens would in turn elect enlightened legislators or representatives and participate intelligently in decision-making in local and national issues of common interest. Without regard to income, race, sexual orientation, religion or phyiscal ability, our good voters attend school by virtue of a free and/or affordable education and beyond school, they have access to lifelong learning, enjoyment and entertainment through cultural institutions such as museums, history centers, national parks, and the public library.
The Trustees of the Boston Public Library epitomized the sentiment in their report of 1852. The report noted that the largest possible number of persons should be induced to read and understand questions… going down to the very foundations of social order…which we as a people are constantly required to decide and do decide, either ignorantly or wisely" (McCook, 2004, p. 36). The librarian fulfills the essential role of helping these persons to "decide" wisely on matters of representative government and all aspects of life in a democracy.
How is democracy served in a public library on a typical day in 2009? The public librarian provides the price and place for the nearest GED test to a high-school drop out. The public library provides cookbooks for a diabetic so she will stay healthy in spite of a serious condition. The public librarian provides authors, titles and read-alikes for a toll taker on a remote bridge.
The public library provides child custody forms from the Internet, Lord of the Flies for a school assignment, and a personal or printed lesson on how to obtain a free email account. Job seeking, homeless support, books for the blind.
These tasks are daily and routine but they are not small and/or inconsequential. Each one is a step towards personal agency, independence, self actualization for otherwise marginalized people or those bowling alone. Maybe some, most, or all of these tasks can theoretically be accomplished at home, the office or with a best friend, however what other public institution is prepared with the resources and the staff to help people of all ages and abilities in these diverse endeavors? This public librarian has performed these services in one day, and thus coped with literacy, education, health, reading needs, and life and death. How does a human rights perspective inform the daily actions of a librarian
I think we need a context that will help new librarians see how their work is part of a different way of looking at human capabilities and promise.
Connecting the Hope for Human Rights to Librarianship and Democracy
"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."
For many years the role of librarians in advancing “deliberative democracy” has been a central feature of the way librarians have characterized our worklife as we have noted above and has been discussed at length in the recent American Library Association monograph, Libraries and Democracy: The Cornerstones of Liberty (Kranich).
But this is a time that global issues such as climate change and ocean death demand that people look beyond borders. This is a time to step back and see that serving democracy, while an important component in the way librarians deliver service, is only part of a larger world view which is informed by human rights and that enlarges and expands the scope of our practice. By adopting a human rights perspective librarians also adopt a mode of practice that rejects the idea of professional neutrality. As Eleanor Roosevelt observed in the quote at the start of this section, human rights start in small places, close to home.
Librarians cannot be neutral in their practice of librarianship. The stance of neutrality is a myth, a code word, as Myles Horton of Highlander once noted, “for the existing system” (Adams). Questioning Library Neutrality: Essays from Progressive Librarian presents essays that relate to neutrality in librarianship in a philosophical or practical sense, and sometimes both. They are a selection of essays originally published in Progressive Librarian, These essays, some by academics and some by passionate practitioners, offer a set of critiques of the notion of neutrality as it governs professional activity, focusing on the importance of meaningful engagement in the social sphere.
For example, American Library Association states its commitment to the Freedom to Read:
"The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries"
Freedom to Read Statement, 1953-2004
In this statement, librarians profess to be advocates for the minority, the opposition, and the unpopular and difficult voices. Performing this duty may well place us as adversaries in an arena with our own "democratic" government.
Those aspects of librarianship that commit librarians to serve democracy and human rights are what make the discipline essential to the survival of the human spirit. We assert that this commitment does not permit the librarian to be neutral. On this point Jensen, speaking at the Texas Library Association, was clear: “A claim to neutrality means simply that one isn't taking a position on that distribution of power and its consequences, which is a passive acceptance of the existing distribution. That is a political choice.” The political part comes in when librarians take our role seriously, and when we support democratic principles which may not be those of the democratic state. For example, African Americans were denied the right to read in public libraries in the segregated South. A librarian truly committed to the Freedom to Read would have ignored Jim Crow Laws in 1953. This is an example of when the rule within the democracy (Jim Crow Laws) should have been defied.
Writing now (2007) in a time of endless war we are prompted to think back on how the ideal of democracy has been used to promote repressive government goals in the United States. Woodrow Wilson, in asserting that those who opposed World War I would have to sacrifice civil liberties, made much the same arguments as those that were used to put forth the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (USAPATRIOT Act). Wilson supported passage of the Espionage Act of 1917 which aimed to quell anti-war sentiment and actions. He also oversaw the Palmer Raids (1918-1921) on suspected communists carried out by Attorney General Palmer and the Justice Department in response to the Red Scare. Many librarians in U.S. libraries acted as “good citizens,” and collaborated in the censorship of German materials during World War I (McCook, 2004, p. 51).
By contrast in the post-9/11 United States, the American Library Association passed the “Resolution Reaffirming the Principles of Intellectual Freedom in the Aftermath of Terrorist Attacks (2002).” Why did U. S. librarians move from a stance of accepting governmental speech suppression in 1918, to their opposition to aspects of the USAPATRIOT Act in 2002?
When we review the many government initiated attacks on free speech in the twentieth century, we realize that the ideal of democracy librarians have embraced is often different than the “democracy” promoted by the government at the local, state or federal levels. The banning of the Grapes of Wrath in 1938-39 was the defining moment for the profession. The fire was lit by poet Stanley Kunitz, who went on to become the poet laureate of the United States. Kunitz, at the time editor of Wilson Library Bulletin, pointed out that the Kern County, CA County Commissioners who ordered the Grapes of Wrath removed from the county libraries likely had the fruit growers’ interests in mind (over the migrant workers labor organizing interests) rather than outrage over the purported "obscenity." We like to imagine the librarians of the late 1930s recognized the literary and social importance of Steinbeck's work (He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962) when they protested the banning of this title. Taken together—the power of Steinbeck’s book, the Library Bill of Rights (LBR) drafted by Forrest Spaulding in Des Moines, Iowa (1938) and the LBR’s adoption by ALA in 1939 --- we have the moment defining modern librarianship as a profession committed to intellectual freedom and the right to read, over governmental dictates (Robbins, 1996b, 166).
The ideal of democracy was used to justify political goals during and after the Second World War. A series of government actions put security issues, as perceived by politicians and bureaucrats, ahead of civil rights. Investigations by the House Un-American Activities / Dies Committee (1938-44), the Smith Act (Alien Registration Act 1940), propaganda distributed by the Office of War Information, Executive Order 9066 (detention of Japanese citizens, 1942)), and Executive Order 9835 (Truman’s loyalty program 1947)--all placed security issues above democratic principles, as discussed in Stone’s Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime. As director of the U.S. Office of Facts and Figures, Archibald MacLeish, also Librarian of Congress, both prevented foreign propaganda from reaching the public and propagated on behalf of America and the allied cause. While librarians have been good at supporting the idealized democracy that responded to government directives, it has been more of a challenge for librarians when those directives actually fly in the face of democratic principles. Adult educator, John M. Chancellor resigned from the American Library Headquarters staff in 1942 partly because he was unhappy at the direction of ALA in wartime. He wrote of democracy:
Is democracy something we have really achieved in America, or is it a developing infant that must now either begin to grow or remain anaemic or die? Do we realize that a major part of this “defense” of democracy is in the last analysis a defense against ourselves and our own selfish shortsightedness? (p. 717).
Chancellor saw the inherent conflict between support of democratic ideals and librarianship’s service to war-time action. Two decades later the profession caught up to Chancellor’s recognition of this dissonance and designated him an ALA Honorary Member in 1962. What happened in the next twenty years that moved librarians from supporting government policies to actively working toward the realization of broader and more ethical ideals?
As World War II was in its final months the blueprint for the United Nations was developed and finalized in San Francisco in 1945. Strong support for human rights was expressed in the U.N. Charter Preamble which stated, "We the peoples of the United Nations [are] determined - to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small." Article 68 of the Charter required: “The Economic and Social Council shall set up commissions in economic and social fields and for the promotion of human rights,…” The Commission on Human Rights, chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, drafted an international bill of human rights and based its work on a UNESCO philosophers committee.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was endorsed 10 December 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations without amendment. Johannes Morsink, who has written the history of the drafting and intent of the UDHR calls it the moral anchor of a world wide human rights movement (p. xii). And in a recent assessment of the impact of the UDHR, Glendon has noted, “what is most encouraging, however, is the proof that men and women of goodwill can make a difference. The imaginations, actions, decisions, sacrifices, and personal examples of countless individuals have helped to bolster the chances of reason and conscience against power and interest (p. 241).”
Did life in the United States change after the U.N. adopted the UDHR in 1948? Ahead were the House Un-American Activities Committee (Hollywood hearings, blacklisting, 1947-1960); Dennis v. United States on teaching communism as a "clear and present danger" (1951); McCarthyism (1950-1954;, Brown versus the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954); “the Silent Generation” of the 1950s; the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955); COINTELPRO (secret FBI actions against civil rights, anti war and communist threats (1956-71); Operation CHAOS, Lyndon Johnson's CIA internal espionage (1969-1974); and the Nixon ‘enemies list” (1970). Those beginning to work as librarians should review histories of how the profession confronted these challenges to democracy and human rights.
The revised Library Bill of Rights (1948), the “Statement on Labeling” (1951), the “Freedom to Read Statement” and the “Overseas Library Statement,” (1953) were clear indications of the stands made by the American Library Association against threats to collection development and intellectual freedom during the onset of the cold war (McCook, 2004, pp. 74-75).
These actions by librarians were taken because many members of the profession recognized that some politicians such as Joseph McCarthy subverted the ideal of democratic government in ways that threatened the civic and human rights of citizens. And in this recognition because it is the nature of librarianship to be intimately connected with the flow of information, access to it, and the politics within, some librarians recognized they had to give up neutrality. They became lonely heroes. Our librarian heroes have lost their jobs, their reputations, and their lives by promoting access to all materials by banned people, and access to banned materials for all people.2 Some like Lucy Randolph Mason and Hilda Hulbert, librarians at the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tennessee could not help seeing the connections between libraries, information, and social justice. In 1935 Hulbert, who was shot in the ankle while walking with striking textile workers, wrote these words to the Southern Field Director of ALA "Crying for education and information and contact with the great army of workers in the same situation, the southern worker needs books as never before, and this is a great challenge to me”(Loveland 1998). We also point out that sometimes ten, sometimes twenty, and sometimes fifty years later the deeds of many of these brave librarians have been recognized and honored.
We librarians have opportunities like no other profession, to be powerful human rights advocates by performing our work mindful of the information barriers we break down with every open library door. Michael Gorman, a past president of the American Library Association, has written: “The ethical quandary that faces each librarian devoted to equity of library service is the degree to which he or she should work in the wider societal and political context to bring about changes that will narrow the library divide” (pp. 144-145). We believe that as librarians grow in understanding of the importance of a human rights perspective in our work that librarians will lead the world to end information inequities.
Acceptance of a Human Rights Paradigm
After viewing the constraints of trying to be democratic without being illegal given the pressures placed on the profession by the politics of state and national government, we begin to see where "neutrality" is not an option, and oppositional action is required. As the world becomes flat and flatter, we can look to an international recognition of the essential human rights of all peoples, and fold our work as librarians into this modern world and embrace the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as an overarching set of principles, within which democracy falls.
The UDHR is made up of a Preamble and 30 Articles. It is beyond the scope of this introductory chapter on librarianship and democracy to discuss the connections that exist between each Article and library practice (these connections do exist and are being developed by the authors for a larger project), but by way of illustration we touch on Articles 7, 12, and 19 to demonstrate the expansive world view that librarians embrace when moving to a human rights paradigm as a foundation for library service. How have librarians in the United States incorporated human rights precepts into library canon and practice? The policies of librarianship as adopted by the Association and codified in the American Library Association policy manual were developed as a result of profession-wide discussion and debate. After 1948 human rights has become a broadly accepted world view and we see a gradual internalization of human rights principles in many venue of human action.
“All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.”
Libraries in the south provided little or no service to African-Americans and were segregated until the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s-60s. The American Library Association did not take a stand against segregation among state chapters until 1963. Our national association met in cities where some of its members could not walk in the front door. Much was made of the prudent policy of not alienating state chapters who were militantly segregated, as Jim Crow was not a "library issue."
Yet equality of all people was declared a human right in 1948 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and some brave librarians in the south also stood up for civil rights (Graham). Juliette Hampton Morgan left her position at the Montgomery, Alabama Carnegie library after months of suffering angry taunts and a cross burning on her lawn by those who were enraged by her letters and actions in favor of civil rights before and during the Montgomery bus boycott. While her director and the library board did not yield to pressure from the mayor and other segregationists to fire her, she was asked not to profess any more public support for the civil rights movement, and the mayor threatened to withhold municipal funding for the library. Morgan died soon after and may have taken her own life after struggling with hatred and ostracism from friends and family because she pointed out the injustices of segregation in letters and street action. The White Citizen’s Council burned a cross on her lawn in Montgomery because she stood up to the injustices of segregation. Is it not fitting that half a century later the main city library has recently been renamed in her honor?
In 1959 another Alabama librarian, Emily Wheelock Reed, was pressured to remove, A Rabbit's Wedding by Garth Williams, from the state library collection. State Senator E.O. "Big Ed" Eddins believed the children’s' book to be pro-integrationist brainwashing because one bunny was black and the other white. The press made light of the controversy, but Reed's job and the library budget went under attack, and she left the state for another job shortly afterwards.
In 1950, Ruth W. Brown, of the Bartlesville, Oklahoma Public library, was fired after 30 years , ostensibly because the library owned The Nation, The New Republic, and Soviet Russia Today, but actually because of her work with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) (Robbins, 2001). Brown and her friends established the Committee on the Practice of Democracy in Bartlesville in 1946. This was the first CORE affiliate group south of the Mason-Dixon Line. In March 2007, the library hosted a celebration of Ruth Brown’s life and unveiled a bronze bust.
Librarianship caught up to the human rights examples of librarians like Morgan, Reed, and Brown who defied the laws of their states to speak out for the right of all people to read. Though lawbreakers in their time, we have seen that their commitment to human rights transcended unfair and outdated state laws.
Today Equitable Access to Information and Library Services and Diversity are two of the seven Key Action Areas of the American Library Association. New librarians will find the efforts made during the second half of the twentieth century to emphasize service to diverse communities very much in accord with the world focus on human rights as outlined in Article 7 (McCook, 2002).
“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”
In matters of privacy librarians have taken principled stands. Zoia Horn, a reference librarian at Bucknell University, was held at the Dauphine County Jail for 20 days in 1971. She refused to testify at the trial of anti-war activists known as the Harrisburg Seven about their library use. She prepared a statement to the judge on freedom of thought, freedom of association and freedom of speech although was never able to utter it. Horn's unwillingness to compromise her commitment to privacy as a library principle in deference to government pressure and without any support from ALA at the time, has been recognized by her designation as the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award winner and having a California Intellectual Freedom Award named after her.
Librarian’s actions to protect privacy reverberate in the latest librarian defense of democracy and human rights. In one instance, an FBI agent visited the library and wanted the names of all library patrons who borrowed Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America. The librarian, Joan Airoldi, challenged the "fishing expedition" and demanded a subpoena. She said "Libraries are a haven where people should be able to seek whatever information the want to pursue without any threat of government intervention.”
It happened again—when the FBI served the Library Connection in Connecticut a national security letter to gain access to patron records without a court order, demanding silence and secrecy. In Doe v. Gonzales librarians’ protection of patron privacy was upheld. The American Library Association Council passed a resolution honoring their courage with these words:
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association strongly commend the stand of the Connecticut John Does—George Christian, Barbara Bailey, Peter Chase, and Janet Nocek—in their successful legal battle to defend the privacy of library user records; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association condemn the use of National Security Letters to demand any library records; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association reaffirm its opposition to sections of the USA PATRIOT Act that infringe on library patrons' ability to access library services without privacy safeguards.
Adopted by the ALA Council, unanimously, on Wednesday, June 28, 2006
The American Library Association has a strong history of defending privacy. Key actions include the first ALA Code of Ethics (1939); the Policy on the Confidentiality of Library Records (1971, 1986); revisions and updates relating to Privacy: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights. (2002) and the Privacy Toolkit (2005). The Privacy Toolkit assists libraries and librarians in understanding privacy and its relationship to information access in libraries, and provides action tools that apply to their local circumstances. The justification for privacy is based on the First and Fourth Amendments but also references the UDHR.
“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.”
Essential to a democracy that operates in an environment of free choice is a free press, freedom of speech, and a place to collect, organize, and store all this discourse. The American Library Association's "Free Expression: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights" cites Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and states:
Freedom of expression is an inalienable human right and the foundation for self-government. Freedom of expression encompasses the freedoms of speech, press, religion, assembly, and association, and the corollary right to receive information.
Activism in the 1960s put librarians in the position of defending open access to information and democratic values in opposition to another war. Abbot-Hoduski (2004) describes the situation when Joan H. Bodger resigned her position at the Missouri State library commission in 1969 after writing a letter to the Columbia (Mo) Daily Tribune, saying she would include the Free Press in a display of student newspapers in the State Library. The newspaper included a cartoon which in opposition to the war in Vietnam depicted the rape of the Statue of Liberty by a policeman.
In 1996 Louisiana high school librarian Deloris Wilson at West Monroe High School was ordered to remove Heartbreak and Roses: Real Life Stories of Troubled Love; Gays In or Out of the Military; Everything You Need to Know About Incest; and Everything You Need to Know About Abstinence from her library shelves. After protesting she was then told to remove all books with sexual content. Her response was to pull 200 books, including several Bibles. Wilson was eventually named plaintiff in a suit by ACLU against the Ouachita Parish School Board. In 2001 she received the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award and the PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award.
Perhaps the most widely publicized case of a librarian defending the people’s right to know in this century has been librarian Ann Sparanese’s defense of Michael Moore’s book, Stupid White Men and Other Excuses for the State of the Nation. A Salon writer observed: “When Michael Moore's publisher insisted he rewrite his new book to be less critical of President Bush, it took an outraged librarian to get it back in the stores (Bolonik).” In 2003 the American Library Association honored Ann Sparanese with the Futas Catalyst for Change Award.
These are but three examples of librarians standing up and risking jobs and livelihood for the right of their patrons to read freely. The PEN American Center and the Newman's Own Foundation has presented its Pen/Newman's Own award to Wilson and other librarians who fought to safeguard freedom of expression through the written word. The ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom sponsors banned books week, provides programming to support intellectual freedom defense, honors defenders of intellectual freedom and develops, recommends, and maintains a total intellectual freedom program for the American Library Association.
By reviewing our history we see librarians’ defense of intellectual freedom can be viewed within the framework of the UDHR, In 1990-91 Article 19 of the UDHR was added to the ALA Policy Manual as Policy 58.4. In 1996-97 the Association added Policy 58.4.1, “Human Rights and Freedom of Expression,” stating “ 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.”
A Human Rights Perspective for Librarians in the 2ist Century
We believe that librarians in the 21st century will gradually adopt a comprehensive human rights perspective as the framework for characterizing our values. Toni Samek, one of the primary advocates for the importance of human rights to the work of librarians notes in her monograph, Librarianship and Human Rights: A Twenty-First Century Guide:
Historically, the profession’s claim to library neutrality has drawn a line between professional issues such as literacy and so-called non-library issues such as war. A similar line has categorically divided library advocacy and library activism. This book strongly supports the international library movement known in the 21st century as critical librarianship, which aims to blur these lines and to expose them as both counter-intuitive and counter- productive to the development of more humanistic (and less techno- managerial) library and information work. (p.7)
In this essay we have asserted that as librarians we operate under great truths, bills of rights, ethics statements, mission statements and promises of quality service for pure democracy, but we fall short much of the time. Because like real estate developers, who will always want the open space until it isn't open space anymore, the pressure to ignore or slight or skimp or forget and/or avoid our responsibilities as agents of information rights, human rights, is inexorable. It is so much easier to stretch the budget by closing the doors early, thus cutting off the full time working people. It is so much cheaper to avoid worrying about bi-lingual services or collections for that minority who don't come in to use our services anyway. It is sometimes worrisome to buy the materials your GLBT patrons might find necessary, because you know you have other patron populations who will be vocal and unhappy with such use of their tax money.
If librarians don't keep touching base, looking back, remembering the big picture of our main purpose, which is to keep information freely flowing, take tax dollars and give our communities (in the broadest sense) what they want and what they need, we will lose it all. We will overdue fine our public until they don't dare come in, buy the books our loudest patrons clamor for until we have created a library just for the few and the loudest. We will purchase the titles vendors tell us to (who are in turn told to publish by their corporate HQs), accept only the web sites our corporate controlled filters filter, and hire the library staff that gets along with us.
We have written this essay from the vantage that a world view with a human rights perspective will move librarians from a stance of neutrality to passionate work on behalf of human capabilities. The coming global information society will extend the range of our practice as defined at the World Summit on the Information Society (2003, 2005). Encounters are just beginning between human rights activists and the global information society agenda and it will be up to librarians to activate service with a human rights perspective for all people (Jorgensen, p.43). By summarizing the path of librarianship from support of democracy to support of human rights, we hope we have helped to suggest new directions for library workers. We are in agreement with Toni Samek and Mark Rosenzweig looking to a more humanistic librarianship grounded in an unfettered cultural record, with respect for cultural diversity, and opposition to the commodification of information (Samek, p. 181).
1 We write from the perspective of our life-time professional connection to the American Library Association. We urge the reader to review the documents and policies of our sister national associations (e.g. REFORMA, AALL, MLA, AILA) and state chapters for a complete picture.
2 For this paper we honor and commend librarians some of the many librarians who have fought for human rights : Joan Airoldi, Barbara Bailey, Sanford Berman, Joan Bodger, Clara Estelle Breed, Ruth Brown, Peter Chase, George Christian, Blanche Collins, John Forsman, Barbara Gittings, Daniel Gore, T. Ellis Hodgin, Zoia Horn, E.J. Josey, Agnes Inglis, Stanley Kunitz, Gordon McShean, Lucy Randolph Mason, Juliette Hampton Morgan, Janet Nocek, Michele Reutty, Mark C. Rosenzweig, Loriene Roy, Toni Samek, Anita Schiller, Ann Sparanese,Yongyi Song, Arnulfo Trejo, Jerilynn Adams Williams, and Deloris Wilson who have all shown by their example a commitment to human rights and democracy in the context of librarianship. We have reviewed their particular contributions while writing this essay and gained inspiration and hope from them.
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The Plan of Action for the first phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education is now available in six languages (English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Chinese). Following the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004), the plan defines five keys to success of human rights education.
The five keys to success for Human Rights Education as outlined in the Plan of Action for the first phase of the World Programme are as follows:
# Educational policies should promote a rights-based approach
# Policy implementation should be consistent and regularly monitored
# The learning environment should enable the practise of human rights in the whole school community
# Teaching and learning should be holistic and reflect human rights values
# Education and training of school personnel should allow them to transmit human rights values.
Human Rights Education Associates (HREA) is an international non-governmental organisation that supports human rights learning; the training of activists and professionals; the development of educational materials and programming; and community-building through on-line technologies. HREA is dedicated to quality education and training to promote understanding, attitudes and actions to protect human rights, and to foster the development of peaceable, free and just communities.
HREA works with individuals, non-governmental organisations, inter-governmental organisations and governments interested in implementing human rights education programmes. The services provided by HREA are:
• assistance in curriculum and materials development;
• training of professional groups;
• research and evaluation;
• clearinghouse of education and training materials;
• networking human rights advocates and educators.