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Library Politics

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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

You may have noticed that the American Library Association and even your local library has become quite political. Perhaps the best way to illustrate that is to tell the story of Ron Kelley, an ALA member.

In the summer of 2020, the American Library Association encouraged its members to support Black Lives Matter. Ron Kelley expressed his concern in an email that he believed that promoting a political organization was “extremely unwise.” He also wondered why the ALA wasn’t up in arms about the profession’s gender gap since “82 percent of American librarians are women.”

As you can probably imagine, other woke librarians complained about him and filed complaints against his boss. Then he was fired. One article about his situation explained that he was hardly a right-wing culture warrior. He was a mobile librarian who served the Navajo Nation and previously had traveled the world writing about Bedouins, Kurdish refugees, and Native Americans.

He and many other librarians were caught up in what has been called the Critical Librarianship movement. The goal is not merely to educate but to use library resources to change people’s minds. A review of the literature shows the desire to become political actors and participate in the battle for young minds.

The current ALA president said (in a now deleted tweet) that: “I just cannot believe that a Marxist lesbian who believes that collective power is possible to build and can be wielded for a better world is the president-elect of @ALALibrary.”

As I’ve mentioned previously, several states have decided to reevaluate their relationship with American Library Association. My suggestion is for you to check out your local library and the school library. You might be surprised at what you find.viewpoints new web version

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