Sunday, November 13, 2005

Librarians fight to keep gay literature from being censored

My blog has moved!!! Please visit my new blog for all the newest news, events, opinions and more!!!
You will be automatically re-directed in three seconds. Click the link to go to the new blog now. Use the search function on the new blog to find any story you are looking for on here.

From News: Librarians On Front Lines To Protect Gay Literature From Censorship by Jessica M. Pasko, Associated Press Posted: November 13, 2005 12:01 am ET (New York City) During the 2004 Republican National Convention as thousands of protesters massed in New York City, a group of 40 volunteers came to their aid, researching questions about the convention and offering ``ready reference kits'' - city maps, schedules of demonstrations, lists of telephone numbers for lawyers, hospitals and lodgings. The group called itself Radical Reference, and its members took to the streets to provide on-the-go information, including an explanation of a protester's rights in the event of arrest. The group's co-founder, Jenna Freedman, a librarian at Manhattan's Barnard College, and many of her colleagues in the library world are proving that the stereotype of the quiet librarian is just that. Today's librarians are using websites, e-mail, text messages and more to create an international community of like-minded (and tech-savvy) library workers. They're challenging perceptions and redefining themselves as fierce defenders of free speech who make activism part of the job. Jessamyn West, an Americorp volunteer at libraries in rural Vermont, may be the quintessential radical librarian working hard to protect free and open access to information. ``Loosely, I believe people would be better off with less governmental interference,'' she proclaims on one of her websites, ``I'm against hierarchies, and I believe that humans have a responsibility to look after each other and take care of one another so that everyone's strengths and creativity are utilized and maximized.'' West maintains, offering resources and information to librarians. She's also a member of the Social Responsibilities Round Table, which was formed within the American Library Association nearly three decades ago for those who believe libraries have a duty to be actively involved in the day's social issues, including feminism, poverty and racism. This kind of watchdog activism goes along with the ALA's basic tenets, West said. Attempts at censorship are common. Librarians often encounter issues such as local legislators passing bills that bar libraries from using public funds to buy books on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues, she said. To read the full article click here