Courage, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. And in an era of increasing controls on the gathering and dissemination of information, many Americans are unaware of the courageous stands librarians take every day.
The day-to-day challenges librarians face are inherent in the job description: defending access to controversial or banned books, staving off budget cuts, and creating and expanding programs to draw more citizens into one of the few remaining genuinely public commons in American life. While the ethic of secrecy often prevails in the gathering and dissemination of corporate and governmental information, the work of a librarian is imbued with just the opposite. Be it in the capacity of archivist, reference librarian or information technology professional, a common thread is the profession's dogged commitment to safeguarding books, research and information to make knowledge more widespread, not less.
In the past few years this dedication has become more important than ever. With the federal government ever more intent on spying on its own citizens, and on classifying, concealing and manipulating larger swaths of information and intelligence, librarians and library custodians are on the front lines protecting freedom of inquiry and our right to privacy. And where right-wing groups, both local and national, have campaigned for censorship, librarians have also stepped up to the plate to defend minority points of view in their collections. Anecdotes there are aplenty, too many to document here. The following are but a few profiles of courageous individuals in the field who exemplify the democratic values and the independent spirit of the profession.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Librarians at the gate
From the Nation, Librarians at the Gate -- please be sure to read the entire article: