ALA President Caught Plagiarizing and Faking Signature

ALA President Camile Alire has been caught plagiarizing and possibly using a fake signature by me, SafeLibraries. Before the usual crowd piles on, you have to see the evidence for yourselves:

ALA Double Standard on Accuracy in Texas State Board of Education Proposal on School Book Content; ALA President Plagiarizes to Promote Matter Outside ALA Purview

Comments

I'd rather not provide hits to your website, you silly cultural imperialist, you.

And truly worthless. I am sorry I clicked that link. The ALA has no educational agenda? What about libraries ISN'T educational?

I don't think its "plagiarism" to sign your name to a letter that one of your subordinates (or a committee of subordinates) drafted. In fact, I would pretty much call that standard operating procedure.

Also...you allege she plagiarized her own signature. I don't even understand what this means--unless its a very odd attempt at humorously undermining your own argument.

I hadn't heard of SafeLibraries before this post... Now that I've read your arguments and learned about your agenda, I will most certainly avoid your posts in the future. I get my quota of crazy at work.

Thanks for the heads up.

It's plagiarism. See how she added a few words. See how she rearranged paragraphs. See wholesale copying. See that nowhere is credit given where credit is due. Notice even Fiels said she would submit the Garnar letter when she submits her own. She did not do that. She just chopped his up and submitted it as her own.

This is out and out plagiarism. This is theft. That's what plagiarism is. This is disgraceful. If I were still an ALA member, I'd feel embarrassed.

She is writing, supposedly, about the school environment. No way would schools allow plagiarism. A student would suffer serious consequences. If a professor did this, firing might be appropriate.

This is inexcusable. It does not make a difference who she is or how high she sits. If I were an ALA member, I would immediately seek her immediate removal, not for the signature, but for the plagiarism. The signature is a nonissue, expect to the extent it shows a lack of professionalism, among other things. You can't sign a signature on a letter to a state agency in a matter such as this?

No. She could have so easily done what Fiels said. Or she could have easily provided attribution where attribution was due. Her plagiarism substantially misleads a Texas state agency into believing the source of the letter is the ALA when in reality if is only one committee within the ALA, and even then not everyone is in agreement. The ALA is only writing one letter to the Texas SBOE, so using the same thing twice as some organizations do wouldn't even apply even if that idea excuses plagiarism, which it does not.

All you "anonymous" writers are supposedly free speech advocates, yet here you are advocating people ignore my pointing out the ALA's plagiarism. Your personal attacks avoid the issue, which is your purpose, and in doing so, you evidence my claims have merit.

"Silly cultural imperialist", "truly worthless", "ridiculous", "very odd", "crazy." Sling some more at me. It doesn't change the facts. The ALA President is a plagiarist and there should be serious consequences.

Of course, all this is my opinion, but comparing the two letters side by side should convince anyone.

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http://www.SafeLibraries.org
http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/

Dude, I hate the ALA and it would be easy to sell me on something anti-ALA. Problem is your piece against the ALA in regards to plagiarism is incoherent. What are you saying is plagiarism? How do you know that the letter was not used with permission? You gotta make your case man. We can't make it for you.

"How do you know that the letter was not used with permission?" Permission to plagiarize? Hmmm, I wonder if getting permission absolves plagiarism. I doubt it. "Hey, Bob, may I steal your answer and submit it to the teacher as mine own?" "Sure, but if you get caught, I can't help ya." I think that is still plagiarism.

"You gotta make your case man. We can't make it for you." Actually, I provided the text of both letters and the surrounding context such as the Fiels email so people could figure this out for themselves. My "case" is irrelevant. What is relevant is the facts of this matter.

Alire, by the way, has made no response despite my emailing her. In the other ALA plagiarism case, the plagiarizer admitted, explained, and corrected the situation, and it turned out to be not so visible/serious. What is Alire hiding? If she wants to amend her response, she better do it soon as the comment period is closing Thursday, I believe.

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http://www.SafeLibraries.org
http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/

Dude you are so dense. If you have permission it is not plagiarism.

"Hey Bob I see you wrote a letter critical of that company. I want to write a letter to that company also. Can I use the language in your letter?"
"Sure Doug go ahead and use my letter."

New person to conversation named Phil:

"Bob someone used the language in your letter."
"Yea I know. It was Doug I said he could use the letter."
"Oh, gotcha. But isn't that plagiarism?"
"Who cares? I wrote the original and I said Doug could copy it. I am the only person that could gripe about Doug using the letter and I am the one that gave him permission to use it. For me to complain about Doug using my letter would be pretty stupid."

>>My "case" is irrelevant.

I agree.

>>What is relevant is the facts of this matter.

But when you present them in a manner that no one knows what the f*** you are talking about they don't really matter. I read your stuff. It makes no sense to me. I am anti-ALA and willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. I read your stuff and the facts you present don't convince me of anything.

How would you write it? You use foul language to describe my writings and you bend over backwards to excuse plagiarism. You claim you are "anti-ALA," so why don't you take the facts I presented and more you may find and write up your own explanation of the plagiarism?

I doubt you are "anti-ALA" since your writing here is a naked effort to make me the target, not the plagiarism by the ALA President. You act as if plagiarism is absent if I personally don't write well.

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http://www.SafeLibraries.org
http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/

>Alire, by the way, has made no response despite my emailing her.

It makes sense for her not to respond. What good will come from refuting specious allegations? We have been refuting your allegations and we are getting nowhere. And our getting nowhere is not because you are right.

I am no ALA clone. If the ALA president did something ethically or legally wrong I would be more than willing to see a point made of it. Your allegations do not meet my criteria of a legal or ethical issue. In fact you used up what very little credibility you had with me.

Your use of the word plagiarism: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2y8Sx4B2Sk

Yeah, this is a complete non-story with a pretty obvious bias. ("Outside ALA Purview?" Please.) Attaching your signature to what is basically reworking of a letter intended for this purpose can hardly be said to constitute plagiarism.

@Safelibraries,
1. it's an ALA-created document, signed by the president of ALA[*]; how is it plagiarism?
2. do you take issue with the contents of the letter?
2a. if you have problems with the content of the letter, wouldn't it be more effective to highlight the problems?
3. what is your opinion of the contents of the letter?

*The Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee wrote the IFC draft of the letter, which was developed through IFC internal processes, and forwarded it up through the internal-process-chain within ALA. The ALA Executive Board approved it (and probably wordsmithed it; wordsmithing is common practice in ALA) and The ALA President signed it (as the public voice of ALA) and submitted it.

1) I explained the reasons in the body of the blog post and in responses here.

2) 2a) 3) The substantive contents of the letter was not discussed by me in detail in the blog post. Be that as it may, I'll say now that the letter was rather empty. It started with conclusive statements, was filled was complimentary things about the wonders of school libraries, then closed with conclusive statements. I could not find any statements of fact related directly to the issue which the ALA is seeking to prevent. People have been saying I write poorly, but that letter was fact-poor, and it is supposed to represent the ALA's best effort to affect children nationwide.

So, setting aside its being plagiarized, it really says very little anyway, other than concluding the ALA opposes the Texas SBOE's effort to improve education. And a library association has no standing to suggest what should or should not be taught to children in public schools.

It's an embarrassing letter substantively and procedurally, let alone its being plagiarized.

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http://www.SafeLibraries.org
http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/

Let me say again, the ALA's Executive Director said, "The Board has been waiting to hear from the Intellectual Freedom Committee. President Camila Alire will be sending a letter including the statement to the Texas DOE this week."

So even the Executive Director expected her to write her own letter and "include" the IFC statement. Instead, she chose to plagiarize.

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http://www.SafeLibraries.org
http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/

> I explained the reasons in the body of the blog post and in responses here.

But no one understood what you are saying.

Here is how you have to lay it out. State what you think plagiarism is and then give a specific example of how there is plagiarism in the ALA letter.

Safelibraries plagiarized my letters. In my post I used these letters:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

In his post he used the same letters. He is a plagiarist.

Previous commenter stated: Also...you allege she plagiarized her own signature. I don't even understand what this means

I having been waiting for you to respond to this. How do you plagiarize your own signature? I am dying to know.

The signature is not the issue. You cannot plagiarize your own signature.

The issue is the plagiarism as raised on this LISNews blog post, and, on the main SafeLibraries blog post itself, the main issue is the ALA's double standard claiming the need for "accuracy" in Texas while the ALA opposed accuracy in Florida when the ALA went all the way to the US Supreme Court (and lost) to attempt to force a community to do what the ALA wanted, namely, accept propaganda about Cuba into the public schools.

For the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom it is one thing for Cuba and another for the USA; materials in public schools about Cuba need not be accurate but materials in public schools about the USA must be accurate (where that accuracy is defined by those who oppose the Texas SBOE's actions). Similarly, the ALA cares little that Martin Luther King Jr books are being burned in Cuba and librarians are being beaten and jailed, but let some parent complain about oral s3x or bestiality in a public school book and suddenly that parent is branded as a "censor" and "Banned Books Week" gets created.

Perhaps a library association should stay out of what gets taught to children in other locations in the first place, then it would not be caught in such double standards.

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http://www.SafeLibraries.org
http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/

>The signature is not the issue. You cannot plagiarize your own signature.

That is not what you said on your blog. If you are wrong about this maybe you are wrong about the letter being plagiarized.

You're right that in the context of a personal letter, this copying would be considered plagiarism. However, these particular "letters" are not really letters in the traditional sense. They're a specific kind of institutional document-- a statement drafted by many people in an organization and then publicly affirmed by a delegate of the organization. That they are written in the form of a personal letter is somewhat confusing, I agree.

However, nowhere in either document does the author use the words "I" "me" "mine" or any first person pronouns (which would indicate that original ideas were being put forth). Everything is phrased institutionally. It would actually make more sense, in some ways, if they were just signed "The ALA" or more accurately "Everyone in the ALA Who Agrees With This". However, it's a social convention that authors be identified by name, so a delegate signature is the compromise that some organizations choose for institutional statements (in contrast, anarchist groups sometimes choose to indicate communal authorship). Consequently, the signatures on these documents are more similar to William Blount signing something that begins with, "We the People of the United States", when it's not clear to what extent he agreed with the text, nor how many of those words were actually his.

In this context, copying is not generally considered to be plagiarism. It's a widely held social convention that institutional statements don't need to adhere to the same kind of rules that personal ones do. Consequently, you are free to argue about what *should* constitute plagiarism: you could demand that the President of the ALA write a personal letter with her own ideas, or stop using her signature to publicly affirm institutional documents, or request that each person who had a hand in writing the thing (or alternatively, whoever agrees with it) sign instead. However, this argument has absolutely nothing to do with textbooks in Texas, so it would behoove you to separate the two issues.

Ah, a substantive response. Finally.

The ALA's Executive Director said, "The Board has been waiting to hear from the Intellectual Freedom Committee. President Camila Alire will be sending a letter including the statement to the Texas DOE this week."

So the Executive Director expected her to write her own letter and "include" the IFC statement. Anyone would expect that, actually. Instead, she chose to plagiarize.

I understand that people find it hard to believe that plagiarism could be committed by an ALA president. I totally get that. But that does not excuse the behavior.

Further, what ever happened to the "appearance of impropriety"? The ALA is fully aware of the issue:

"However, because of the nature of the work of such committees, those who serve on them must be especially sensitive to conflict of interest situations as well as the appearance of impropriety."

http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/yalsa/aboutyalsa/conflict.cfm

Certainly you will admit at a minimum there is an appearance of impropriety, will you not?

Or consider the "Code of Ethics of the American Library Association." http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/proethics/codeofethics/codeethics.cfm

"We significantly influence or control the selection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information. In a political system grounded in an informed citizenry, we are members of a profession explicitly committed to intellectual freedom and the freedom of access to information. We have a special obligation to ensure the free flow of information and ideas to present and future generations."

Has Camile Alire met that "special obligation" by plagiarizing?

"IV. We respect intellectual property rights...." How, by plagiarizing from others, by stealing their intellectual property?

All she needed to do was add a simple statement to prevent this whole thing. She's no different than any other plagiarizer and should be treated no different as well. At a minimum, the ALA should launch an ethics investigation.

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http://www.SafeLibraries.org
http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/

Her letter did include the statement. In the text of the letter. And now you're complaining about it ;)

I fully believe that any president of the ALA could commit plagiarism. Sure, why not. The issue here, though, is that people don't agree with you that this is plagiarism because of the nature of the communication (the details and implications of which I described above). If this were a personal letter or a book or an op-ed piece or anything else where this kind of copying violated the social norms regarding plagiarism, it would be a different story (though still entirely distinct from that of textbooks in Texas, mind you).

Your definition of plagiarism is entirely valid, but language is a social agreement. If *no one else* defines it your way, then effectively the word doesn't mean what you want it to. It might in the future? It might have in the past. It might in other countries or cultures. But in this one, right now, these letters don't constitute plagiarism because the vast majority of people in the library/academic spheres are okay with institutionally ascribed documents following different rules than those written by individuals.

But in this one, right now, these letters don't constitute plagiarism because the vast majority of people in the library/academic spheres are okay with institutionally ascribed documents following different rules than those written by individuals.

Really it's, The vast majority of people in the ANY sphere are okay with institutionally ascribed documents following different rules than those written by individuals.

If I had to guess I'd say it's also okay legally as well.

I wrote a longer reply, but I decided against posting it because this entry does not deserve it. You will not be swayed in the slightest, but merely use it as another chance to write the words "Camile Alire" and "plagiarism" in the same sentence, as if repeating the phrase will somehow magically make it true.

In the end, you have nothing to prove your allegations. All you have is the thinnest of circumstantial evidence, based on your own biases and imagination. You have no substance in your posting nor integrity in your prose nor willingness to engage in discussion or debate in good faith. You occupy the shadowlands of internet debate, convinced of your own hyperbole, an opportunist who is more interested in shouting their opinion than actual discourse. And there is no length you will not go in order to smear the ALA, whether or not it is grounded in reality.

Have you no shame, sir?

I am going to suggest to Blake that he take down this post. You can commit as much libel as you want in your blog; there is no need to engage on it in this one.

I was wondering how/why this post ended up on lisnews to begin with. Can anyone add anything they want to this website? Is there no editorial oversight?

Free speech people say what?

"I am going to suggest to Blake that he take down this post."

As the Annoyed Librarian says, intellectual freedom means the freedom to think like the guy who wants to remove this post:

"Intellectual Freedom Means the Freedom to Think Like Us!"

Taking down the post will not make the plagiarism or the potential ethics violations go away. The problem is the ALA's, not mine for reporting it, no matter how poorly I may have written it in the middle of the night.

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http://www.SafeLibraries.org
http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/

Freedom of speech does not extend to libel. If your accusation of plagiarism is false then you are libeling someone. In that case taking down your post is not infringing our your rights because you have no right to be libelous.

I have said repeatedly it is my opinion, but that I was providing the evidence for people to make up their own minds, to have their own opinions. I have also suggested the ALA ought to look into whether its own ethics code has been violated.

It is no surprise, in fact, let me change that. It is quite obvious from the number of people attacking me or my writing while steering clear of the substantive issues that I have hit the nail on the head, particularly where the freedom of speech people are calling for the removal of this blog post.

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http://www.SafeLibraries.org
http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/

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