Another resolution passed in Chicago was the
Resolution on Threats to Library Materials Related to Sex, Gender Identity, or
Sexual Orientation. In light of their other resolution on Disinformation
(which I will talk about later) this is quite the little piece of propaganda.
The assumption is that this is in direct response to
the actions of the
in trying to make sure that gay materials are kept out of the children's book
too. However if you read the resolution you won't see anything about children other then a
throw away line about parent's responsibility deep into the whereas's and whatfors. The
impression you get is that government is trying to ban gay materials all together.
As usual the liberal side (the side always demanding honest discussion) completely
ignores the current culture war on gay marriage (side note: I once was in a
face-to-face discussion with a lesbian who took the view that gay marriage was
inevitable so there was no real need to address the fact people disagreed with her).
This is Karen Schneider's
the subject after she got back from Chicago. Good to know she has her profession in mind.
I'll be interested to see if she voted for or against the Disinformation Resolution.
What's creepy is that after
Conference was over, resident snake-in-the-grass,
Rosenzweig felt the need to post the following email to the Council listserv:
Aren't we glad Council, after a debate which was shocking in what it revealed,
stood by the profession's commitments and passed the resolution we did opposing
(ongoing and escalating) discrimination against library materials based on gender
Identity or sexual orientation content and the legislation which would encourage
or mandate such discrimination?
Outside of Council few will know that it did not pass without opposition and the
opposition was neither casual nor random. It was an organized and orchestrated
effort by Chapter Councilors from the South and West (not all of them by any
means, and not exclusively there, but a real bloc) who claimed they couldn't
go back to their communities and legislatures with a resolution taking a stand
in defence of this principle in opposition to discrimination against "GLBT:
materials in their libraries..
Expressing a "state's rights" position reminiscent of the days when Southern
chapters defended segregation and Jim Crow, these Councilors bridled at ALA
reemphasizing for all of librarianship--from Florida to Washington to Alaska
and from Hawaii to California to Maine,-- a principle they knew to be basic to
librarianship but which , to their profound irritation, was raised in reference
to one of those hot-button "social" issues their local politicians are making
hay with ("gay rights"), and therefore inconvenient to be seen defending in
Yes, Chapter Councilor after Chapter Councilor got up and opposed or tried to
alter the resolution because -- and this was explicitly their reason --it was
not going to be popular with their right-wing legislators. It seems they think
librarianship's, despite all the lip-service paid to 'diversity', basic
commitments should be tailored to the prejudices of local politicians in the
'practical' interests, of course, of getting a few miserable crumbs from the
pies on the tables of local power, something we're all supposed to understand
as reason enough to compromise oneself and one's profession.
To my mind the bloc of Chapter Councilors which formed around this opposition
to the dictates of the "big govamint' of ALA is not only reactionary on its face
but points to the undemocratic principle of power which is granted to Chapter
Councilors, some of whom are self-selected, appointed or voted in by a tiny group
of local library leaders. Perhaps it is time to reconsider again the role of
Chapter Councilors and how they are selected. If this be a 'divisive' issue, so
be it. The campaign which Chapter Councilors waged against this resolution,
completely consonant with the Association's overarching commitment to diversity,
was also divisive.
Knowing that it will be met by indignation and horror , and that I will be called
every name in the book for this undoubtedly egregious breach of the etiquette
which dictates quietly burying and denying these conflicts and their
significance, I cannot refrain from speaking the plain truth as I see it :
their behavior in Council on this issue (and not this alone) makes them the
functional equivalent of forbears who, not so long ago, stood up and justified
Jim Crow in libraries where segregation was the "community standard".
It is not a pretty reminiscence for many of us, most of us, I would like to think.
And, indeed, it should be noted for the historians of librarianship that several
veteran African-American librarians, Councilors, rose to the floor to forcefully
and with full recognition of the parallels express their disgust that bigotry was
raising its head from the same quarters, this time aimed at homosexuals as once it
was aimed at black people.
So, I'm writing here for the record which will otherwise obscure this significant
conflict in Chicago unless it is explicitly pointed out by one of us in
print/on-line , while drawing your attention to the well-aimed article below which
should be chastening to some Councilors and a lesson to us all.
ALA Councilor at large
What followed was some bashing of Chapter Councilors
who were trying to look out for their states interests. Keep in mind the resolution
didn't even deal with the issues in question. It just tried to setup a straw man
to give the likes of Rosenzweig to whoop and holler about. Chilling isn't
it? And people complain about Bush. God help the fence sitters on Council or
Rosenzweig's jackboots will be all over you.
Rosenzweig complains that the Councilors who spoke
out didn't even speak to the resolution but worried about how it would look. Well
let me spell it out to you. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Myself and a
large part of the American population believe it to be so and will do what we can
to keep it so. We're not interested in banning gay literature. There's millions of
books sitting in libraries coast to coast dealing with anything you can imagine.
But they sit in the adult shelves where adults can deal with them. We don't want
highly charged materials in the children's collection especially material dealing
with explicitly with sex, whether its King and King or
Willy Went, it doesn't belong somewhere where a child can get it without
parent oversight. Its no different then the issue of filtering, another failure
That's the issue. And it wasn't the Councilors who
voted against it who were cowards for not speaking to the issue. Its Rosenzweig and
those who wrote a Resolution that lied about what it
was talking about. Let's hear ALA's case for promoting gay books to kids if its
such a sound one.
Originally posted here