Saturday, February 3, 2018

Neutrality and the People- ALA President's Program- Midwinter Conference-2018

Neutrality and the People

Background Reading  (Chrono order)-- compiled by ALA President's Program Panelist, 
Kathleen de la Peña McCook.

Jack London (1903). People of the Abyss.

Civilization has made possible all manner of creature comforts and heart's delights. In these the average Englishman does not participate. If he shall be forever unable to participate, then Civilization falls. There is no reason for the continued existence of an artifice so avowed a failure. But it is impossible that men should have reared this tremendous artifice in vain. It stuns the intellect. To acknowledge so crushing a defeat is to give the death-blow to striving and progress. (ch. 27

(Thank you Roy Tennant for digitizing this collection). 

Frank Adams, with Myles Horton (1973).  Unearthing Seeds of Fire: The Idea of Highlander.

Highlander serves as a catalyst for grassroots organizing and movement building in Appalachia and the South. We work with people fighting for justice, equality and sustainability, supporting their efforts to take collective action to shape their own destiny. Through popular education, language justice, participatory research, cultural work, and intergenerational organizing, we help create spaces — at Highlander and in local communities — where people gain knowledge, hope and courage, expanding their ideas of what is possible.

Sanford Berman (2005). “Classism in the Stacks: Libraries and Poverty.” American Library Association. 

William T. Vollmann (2007). Poor People. Eco.
             “Because I wish to respect poor people's perceptions and experiences, I refuse to say that I know their good better than they; accordingly I further refuse to condescend to them  with the pity that either pretends they have no choices at all, or else, worse yet, gilds Their every choice with my benevolent approval." (P.170)

James J. Lorence (2011) The Unemployed People's Movement: Leftists, Liberals, and Labor in Georgia, 1929-1941. Athens: University of Georgia Press.

Martha C. Nussbaum (2011).  Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Gerald W. McEntee and Lee Saunders (2012). The Main Street Moment: Fighting Back to Save the American Dream. New York: Nation Books.

Matthew Desmond (2016). Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. New York: Crown.

Kathryn J. Edin, and H. Luke Shaefer. (2016). $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America. Boston: Mariner.

Sarah Jones (2016). “Liberals Should Try Not Having So Much Contempt for the Poor.” New Republic, December 13.

Sam Quinones (2016). Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic. New York: Bloomsbury.

Brian  Alexander. (2017). Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town. New York: St. Martin’s.

Lauren Barack (2017) "Librarians Reach Out To Dreamers." School Library Journal 63 (October): 18.   

Jenny Bossaller (2017).  "Alternatives to Apathy and Indifference: Civic Education in Public Libraries." Library Quarterly 87 (July): 195-210.

Michael Dowling (2017) "Project Welcome: Libraries planning for resettlement and integration of refugees." American Libraries 48, (September 2): 24-26.

Kathleen de la Peña McCook (2017). "From the One-Mule Tenant Farmer to the Hillbilly Highway: How Librarians Can Support the White Working Class," The Library Quarterly 87 (July):  257-267.

ALA President's Program

Panel Discussion
Date:Sunday, February 11, 2018 3:30 PM - 5:30 PM

American Library Association President, Jim Neal February 2018

Are Libraries Neutral?

Have They Ever Been?    .   Should They Be?  

The question of neutrality in librarianship is an old one.  ALA’s 1939 Code of Ethics for Librarians calls for unbiased “recommendations”.  This is seen in the ALA Library Bill of Rights principles that present the library as content neutral, open and accessible to all. We will explore the following questions with the aim of challenging our thinking and practices:
  • Were libraries ever neutral?
  • Has the time come to question neutrality?
  • Are libraries through their practices, collections, services and technologies able to be neutral?
  • Can libraries be neutral as part of societies and systems that are not neutral?
  • Rather than neutral, should we advocate for a distinct set of values?
  • How can we do so and maintain trust in our communities?
A group of ALA members from academic library, public library, and library education backgrounds engage the issues.  A formal debate, with two speakers in the affirmative and two in the negative, followed by commentary from a reactor panel and a conversation with attendees, moderated by ALA President, Jim Neal.


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