Librarian Bill of Rights

Librarian Bill of Rights and Ethical Librarians

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There have been many excellent and intriguing responses so far regarding instances of unethical librarianship and untrustworthy trustees. Those responses will be aggregated  here on Best of Publib.
 
One of the interesting comments received was from Diedre Conkling formerly with the ALA Committee on Professional Ethics:
 
On Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 3:58 PM, Diedre Conkling  wrote:

 There are many reason’s why the ALA Code of Ethics can’t be enforced on librarians, ALA members or the local level.  We, the Committee on Professional Ethics, recently studied this issue for about 3 years.  The study included open forums for input on the code, how to change it and how to enforce it.  We also looked at what is done in other organizations.  The only organizations that can enforce a code of ethics are licensing agencies.  ALA is not one of these.

 
So, even though ALA has eloquently and elegantly described how to be ethical, all of that work on behalf of the profession by professional librarians only has the authority of suggestion and consensus. On the other hand, unethical librarianship and untrustworthy trustees are the product of the powerful slippery slope.  In some environments the slope is much slippier and the pitch is much greater.

Maybe it just begins with a small compromise of ethics:

  • Did the trustee lose a book? Don’t charge them for it. They are more important than the other patrons.
  • Do you want a good evaluation?  Then hire the trustee’s cousin over a more qualified applicant. 
  • Trustee wants you to give no-bid work to one of their friends or relatives –  go along with it.  
  • Trustee doesn’t want you to provide access to public records about the no-bid work? Lose the info.
  • Meeting minutes?  What meeting minutes? 
No real harm done and you generated some good will with your trustee.  Maybe the trustee likes what you did for them, gives you a raise and authorizes a trip from library funds for you to Key West.   Hey, it is just tax dollars, no one will miss it. Come on.  Everyone does it. Don’t rock the boat. Wink, wink – nudge, nudge.
 
On the other hand, hire the more qualified applicant, treat the trustee equally, make sure funds are allocated properly, support the First Amendment, equal protection under the law and provide lawful access to public records and as an at-will public servant you could lose your job.  There is no effective protection for your profession by your profession.
 

Justice

In Rhode Island – along with many other locations, the slope is just about as slick as it can get.  The political pressure to do the wrong thing can be enormous.  The way that another important group of professionals charged with providing equal protection under the law dealt with the ethical dilemma was the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights. The Fraternal Order of Police helped to promote the Bill of Rights to protect their members from political reprisal for doing their jobs.  Many other states have adopted similar laws.

 
I believe that a *Librarian* Bill of Rights (not to be confused with Library Bill of Rights) should be promoted and adopted by the States  as a method to protect the public interest by protecting public librarians in the commission of their lawful duties as administrators, information professionals, and managers of the public trust.
 
Librarians should  have the duty,  right, and protection under the law to act in their professional capacities to:
  • Uphold U.S. Constitution/Federal/State laws
  • Support the First Amendment
  • Support FOIA and Open Meetings/Access to Public Records statutes
  • Conduct library activities using standard principles of accounting
  • Report to appropriate entity – elected officials – without fear of reprisal  – except for malicious intent – any misfeasance/violation of law –  by Board of Trustees or individual trustee
  • Unless declined – right to have evaluations discussed in public
  • Right to review credentials of Board of Trustee applicants – if  Trustees are required to *have*  credentials – prior to appointment

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Publib Topics – A Graphic Retrospective from January 2011 back to January 2010

Beware Graphic Content Ahead!

These graphic images or word clouds were created using Wordle. They are derived from the subjects and authors in PubLib from January 2010 to January 27 2011.  The size of the graphics is directly related to the number of un-weighted unique occurrences each month of the individual words represented.    Most automated graphic processes that generate these types of word clouds use additional weight for H1 – H6 tags through feeds.  These graphics are not processed with H1 – H6 tags. The titles and authors were copied to Notepad and stripped of all HTML before being run through the Wordle Java platform. The process is case-sensitive so Library is not the same thing as library.
The most prominent word without employing filters would have been PublibPublib and Fwd were deleted from the plaintext files before processing.  In addition, the Wordle program automatically disregards articles, conjunctions, and prepositions.
 
The first graphic represents the most current information for January 2011 and is followed by the normal sequence of January – December 2010.  
2011 appears somewhat ominous! 
January 2011 PubLib

PubLib January 2010

PubLib February 2010

PubLib March 2010

PubLib April 2010

PubLib April 2010

PubLib May 2010

PubLib May 2010

PubLib June 2010

 

PubLib July 2010

 

PubLib August 2010

PubLib September 2010

PubLib October 2010

PubLib November 2010

PubLib December 2010

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Publib Discussion: Unnecessary censorship or necessary evil?

 What would Mark Twain do?

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Publib contributors weighed in on questions regarding the sanitation of language in a new edition of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn for the purpose of classroom instruction. Would Mark Twain approve? Should period works be sanitized for classroom instruction?  The general consensus appears to have been a resounding NO.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

♦  Appalled – Judy Jerome

♦  Awful, just awful. – Sally Tornow

♦  doubt that Mr. Clemens would have approved – Sharon Foster

♦  disgraceful – Mary Soucie

♦  Political correctness run so far amuck that it is changing history and literature – Fred Beisser

♦  outraged – Lisa Guidarini

♦  What good does that do? – Kathi Kemp

♦  outrageous and self-aggrandizing endeavor – Robin Orlandi

♦  bowdlerizing is misguided – should be considered/cataloged as a derivative work – John Beekman

♦  order some new copies of the Twain books with the original language so that we ensure that we have them around as needed in years to come… – Sharon Highler

♦  Hi Tech Bowdlerization, still pathetic. – Jeff Imparato

♦  UNBELIEVABLE – GiGi Bayne

♦  horrendous – Tom Cooper

♦  Is there similar outrage about versions of pop music that have selected words altered? – Brad Thomas

♦  The idea that the “new version” is specifically intended for the educational market i(s) disheartening.  – Paula Laurita

♦  Mr. Twain is no longer around to grant his permission. – Aleta Copeland

♦  If you think this edition is a bad idea, then fight for the original. – Jacob Browne

♦  Twain’s language reflects his times, not ours – Kathleen Stipek

There are certainly many different perspectives on race.  But, there really is only one race. We *all* began in Africa.  Folklore / religion / and ignorance of history create the illusion that we are different other than in extremely superficial characteristics.  Those superficial characteristics are simply tiny changes in the genetic markers that have occurred over many thousands of years.

National Geographic produced an excellent film – The Human Family Tree – that traces us back to scientific Adam and scientific Eve.  Worth collecting for any public or academic library:

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/human-family-tree-3706-interactive

The Genographic Project will let you trace your own history, our own history – way, way, way beyond Ancestry.com .

The Elbert County Library in Colorado sponsored a presentation on Genealogy DNA Testing: 

http://denver.yourhub.com/Franktown/Stories/News/General-News/Story%7E921172.aspx  

Think about what a program like that could do for your community.

What would Mark Twain do?

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Marketing Library Books with Digital Media

I am studying information security and digital forensics  these days at my current University of choice. I browsed QA 76.9 for titles that interested me today and checked out the following books:

Information Security Principles and Practice  – Mark Stamp 2006

Hacking Capitalism The Free and Open Source Software Movement – Johan Soderberg 2008

Dependability Modelling under Uncertainty – Phillipp Limbourg  2008

Hacking – Tim Jordan 2008

Cognitive Technology Essays on the Transformation of Thought and Society – Walker and Herrman Eds.  2005

What did all of these titles have in common?  Nerdiness?  Perhaps.  Computer stuff?  Most certainly! But the most striking aspect of each of these books was that they had *never been checked out* before.

I like being able to be the first person to read a book.  The crackle of the spine and the new book smell. But, they had never been checked out. They had sat there waiting for someone like me for years to check them out. $200+ worth of books and processing unused.

The library was full of students.  Almost none of them were looking at a book.  They were all plugged into the learning commons and sporting smart phones and laptops and netbooks. They were checking their Facebook pages and Blackboard and texting and emailing and engaging in all sorts of social media. The stacks might have just been cubicle walls encircling their virtual activities in the meat space.

Were books being marketed to students?  You could easily find a ref librarian to help you and check your materials.  Stacks were labeled well and the collections were adequate, but the catalog was not prominent.  Maybe books were not being marketed to students.

There were many digital signs in strategic places around the library welcoming students back.  They all could have also been showing book covers of latest editions with call numbers to drive students to the materials.  The catalog could have been marketing books to the students. 

 There are so many opportunities to market books in libraries.  Use your digital sign systems.  Use your catalogs. Use your web sites. Use your words. Use your nerds!

There’s a book for that. Hopefully, books will still be in demand by future learners.

Welcome to Washington, DC! – Food, Glorious Food at ALA

Overview: Chinatown & Penn Quarter

Hi and welcome to our nation’s capital, whether it’s your first time or returning visit!

Looking for a place to grab a quick bite or enjoy dinner with fellow American Library Association librarians and friends near the Washington Convention Center?  Here’s a short list of places I’ve enjoyed.

Chinese food–Chinatown

China Express–features freshly made noodles and other delicious dishes.  Takeout items available.  (746 6th St., NW)

Wok N Roll Restaurant—Chinese-Japanese cuisine.  You can also see the bronze plaque on the front entrance noting this historic building was Mary Sturratt’s boarding house.  (604 H St. NW)

Restaurants

Clyde’s–Just by the Verizon Center, this place has delicious American fare.  While you’re waiting for your table, you can wander into the adjacent Verizon Center lobby (707 7th St. NW)

Bistro d’Oc–serving southern French food (518 10th St. NW)

Capitol City Brewery–Restaurant and bar. Featuring various beers (1100 New York Ave. NW)

The Greene Turtle–local sports bar restaurant chain.  Booths feature a mini TV so you can watch whatever game is on. (601 F St. NW)

Vapiano–Chinatown–Freshly cooked pasta and pizza while you wait. Full bar available. (623 H Street NW)

Caucus Room–If you have the money or someone else is paying on a business account, this is one good place!  Appropriate dinner attire required.  (401 9th St. NW)

 

Quick Bites

California Tortilla–great burritos! (728 7th St., NW)

Potbelly–well known subs and sandwiches chain. (726 7th St. NW)

Capital Q BBQ–Love barbeque?  This Texas style place should be worth the visit.  (707 H St. NW)

Ollie’s Trolley–popular DC hamburger institution as Ben’s Chili Bowl.  You can’t miss the distinctive yellow and red exterior. (12th & E St. NW)

Five Guys–popular hamburger, hot dog, and fries chain that started here in the metro DC area.  (808 H St. NW)

Food Court, lower level of Techworld office Building–if you don’t have much time in between sessions, you can have a quick and delicious lunch here.  The various eateries are open during business hours of the Techworld Building. (800 K St. NW)

Desserts & Treats

Red Velvet—delicious cupcakes! (675 E St NW)

Tangy Sweet—If you’d rather have frozen yogurt, step into Red Velvet’s next door neighbor.  (675 E Street NW)

Frozenyo—self serve frozen yogurt (1006 F St. NW)  If you’ll be around historic Ford’s Theatre, this is a good place to stop.

Haagen Daaz–your favorite ice cream flavors and other delicious speciality treats.   (703 7th St, NW)

Gifford’s–local ice creamery (555 11th St. NW)

For more on these restaurants and more suggestions, visit the online Going Out Guide on WashingtonPost.com.

Hotel Bars

Cure Bar and Bistro–restaurant and bar.  If you’re with a group, you can have a wine tasting from one of the staff and for an additional price, a light appetizer buffet in the bar area. Dinner fare is available. Main lobby, Grand Hyatt Hotel  (1000 H St. NW)

Presidents Sports Bar–Features photos of the Presidents at play, hence the name.  The restaurant is off the lobby. Main lobby, Renaissance Hotel (999 Ninth St. NW)

Miscellaneous

Union Station–the capitol hub for our local rail service and Amtrak.  Check out the speciality stores and enjoy a quick bite or meal.

Penn Quarter seasonal Farmer’s Market–Thursday afternoons, featuring local farm produce, pastries and breads, organic meats, and other locally made products (8th and E St, NW)

Additional note: if you need anything, the nearest CVS is at 8th and E St. NW.  The Chinatown CVS location (7th and H St) was supposed to reopen this year after renovation but still remains closed.

 

Jackson County Public Library – North Carolina

This story is a great example of a community coming together for the common good to build a new library.  The new Jackson County Library replaces one of the first public libraries I used as a child when my father was the Director of the Western Carolina University Library:  

  Jackson County Public Library 

The original building was my summertime source for science fiction and fantasy.  Western North Carolina was a great place to grow up and mature.

My introduction to Public Libraries came from Sam Molod, the former Deputy State Library Director for Connecticut.  When my father was the Sciences Librarian at Wesleyan University,  they became great friends and Sam gave our family many books.  We discovered reading for pleasure – the myths, the legends, the fables.  We utilized the Middletown Public Library in Connecticut as our local lending library.  I was horrified when I ended up with my first overdue fine.  One of many to follow.

When I became the Director of the Middletown Public Library in Rhode Island, I found that Sam Molod had served as the original building consultant on the renovations made to the facility in the 1970s.  I went on to finish the work that had been started and had fallen through because of lack of funds.   Karma.

More Publib Library Budget News from Massachusetts

This news story is about the Town of Wesport Massachusetts:

http://www.eastbayri.com/detail/135560.html

“I don’t want to go and shut the library,” Mr. Harrenstein said. “But you may have to look at the nice-to-haves.”

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