ALA: Librarians For Terror According to FrontPage

David Goldman sends "this highly opinionated opinion piece from FrontPageMagazine about how evil the American Library Association is

(from FrontPageMagazine).." one time American libraries stood at the heart of community education, forming in a positive way the minds and character of our youth, changing lives for the better. But sadly, the traditional mission of these august institutions of learning for generations of Americans is disappearing as they gradually turn into indoctrination centers against the United States and Israel.One of the main reasons for this tragic and disturbing turn of events is the American Library Association, where a clique of leftists has taken over, dedicating itself to padding libraries across America with anti-Israel books, videos and other materials, excluding both sides in the Israel/Palestine dispute.

" Read the entire article here."


I do bark those phrases regularly, but maybe a visual would give them more teeth. Actually, a second computer is the answer, since we all are online aficianados. But I'm on more of t-shirt budget.

David Horowitz's campus cleansing
Former sixties radical launches 'National Campaign to Take Back Our Campuses'

You can't say "he's baaaack"... because he hasn't gone away. He's a (virtual) bomb thrower who pays little attention to casualties or collateral damage. His campaigns, as numerous as they are notorious, are long on launch and short on staying power. If his latest effort was a CD, it might be called the "Greatest Hits" album as he returns time and time again to one of his favorite targets -- campus "radicals." =13889

Oh my, this is a funny article! I never knew that I went to library school in a hotbed of Marxism (as it must be, since I went to San Jose State at the same time as Rory Litwin). I think I need to renew my membership in the ALA.

Hear, here.

I don't want a big 'C' Conservative majority on the ALA Council. I don't want a 'L'iberal majority either. I want librarians discussing library issues either from a conservative or liberal point of view but staying the hell out of national and international politics.

If the Council was suddenly made up of Conservatives I'd be just as annoyed if the Orlando convention had nothing but Conservative speakers all speaking Anti-Kerry speeches.

Greg, I don't think anyone would argue that librarians _as a whole_ lean more to the left than the right, but your existence (and those of other vocal right-wing librarians) surely disproves the author's attempt to group all librarians together. (Take a look at some of the comments on the story, or at how it has played out on other sites (e.g. Little Green Footballs), to see that this is how it's being taken by readers.

> If you're paying your dues, well, do something about it.

Exactly. Run for Council. I did. Councilors are elected by the ALA membership. Winners are sometimes determined by 10-30 votes, Council races are close horse races. ALA is democratic and all the resolutions that come up before ALA Council come to a vote. I have seen very few people running for Council that espouse [in their statements of professional concerns that we all read to determine who to vote for] ultra-conservative viewpoints like the ones in this article, but there is a good mix of conservative and liberal Council members. Conservative members just don't seem to currently have a voting majority. This could easily change. It would be interesting to see people try to change this, as opposed to just foaming at the mouth like Mr Kaplan.

Actually the money that was raised by the Moore showing [which had 2300 people attend, more than Council, or Membership meetings at ALA] went to the ALA-APA which is a fiscally separate organization that has a different non-profit status that allows it to be partisan, mostly in terms of lobbying for higher salaries for librarians and other library staff. I realize it's splitting hairs, but it's also true.

After a careful read it is clear he hasn't included or labeled all librarians, just the group-think, leadership collective of ALA.

If you're paying your dues, well, do something about it. I never joined and had a wonderful career and participated in less political library professional groups--there are many.

"Yes, for all you fact checkers, this should be a piece of cake."

As a librarian, you too are a potential fact checker. Join Us!

So, lets just tar and feather 'em all, or better yet, hang 'em high. Every librarian is a terror monger. Every librarian a porn shill. The labels ignore the nuances, the degrees, the varying opinions and political bents of the thousands of librarians and library workers in this nation.

This perchant for slapping labels on anyone and everyone because he or she dares disagree with one's own opinion and worldview is going to be the true downfall of this nation. We scream at each other and never hear a thing anyone else says. We forget that a difference of opinion is not a personal attack. We either talk about the banal or assassinate character by proxy.

What Kaplan forgets is that the ALA does not govern public libraries in this country - local people govern their libraries, to a greater or lesser degree, as they see fit. Our customers are always telling us what they like, dislike, want to read and don't want to read, what they do or don't want their money spent on. We ignore them at the library's peril.

Finally - just as with any fact, a library catalog can support any point of view. A bit more searching on Boulder's library catalog reveals a host of materials about the Arab-Israeli conflict and relations. And, I'll bet that Boulder's customers can search the Internet for any point of view they favor and find information that way to support or refute that view.

Kaplan's arguement is disjointed and poorly stated. From a purely analytical point of view the article fails.

And, yes, to silence other opinions is facism and totalarian in every degree. Fortunately, I don't think we've quite gotten there yet. Debate is good, for how else, to paraphrase John Stuart Mill, can we ever discern the true from the untrue, make informed decisions, or discover that a long held idea might be erroneous?

Interestingly, this article does not provide titles of specific books to back up this remarkable claim:

"One of the main reasons for this tragic and disturbing turn of events is the American Library Association, where a clique of leftists has taken over, dedicating itself to padding libraries across America with anti-Israel books, videos and other materials, excluding both sides in the Israel/Palestine dispute. "

I read through the article twice for examples of "anti-Israel books", but didn't find any. There were references to two isolated showings of what sound like anti-Israel films, plus a claim that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has donated books to 7000 libraries.

All sorts of folks and organizations donate books to libraries. We can't stop them. A more meaningful question would have been to some of the CAIR book titles at random and see how many libraries decided to take them. This could be approximated by searching OCLC WorldCat.

I guess it's just more fun to say:

"But the fact remains: Those who support the actions and goals of terrorists and oppose Israel’s existence and America’s War on Terror have infiltrated America’s knowledge distribution centers – our libraries."

Without having to prove your assertions.

You need a "I'm the boss" apron! Or one of those, "Because I said so," t-shirts. Thanks.

he should have called the article Librarians - tacit supporters for terror.

ALA is not "Librarians." Council is not "Librarians." Not that I agree with the thesis to begin with, but the headline is incredibly misleading. But, that's what propaganda is all about, be it on the right or left.

You're right, nbruce. I was posting fast and editorializing in a smart alecky way. Had meant to edit that out before I posted, but had kids breathing down my neck to get off the computer.

The Kaplan article places many things in the proper perspective. It is true that people can express their opinions, that is what America is all about. The problem is when a professional organization allows itself to be a politically active base for one opinion. Traditionally, librarians serve the public and are aware of their reseacrh and bibliographic needs. Libraries are not springboards for policy making or influencing. If the library is trying to promote social agendas, mold public opinion, or create a policy then it has gone beyond the pale. It is interesting that ALA resolutions such as the one on Palestinian libraries totally ignore the disruption and death in Israeli society. How does a person going to work fit into political struggle. The ALA is far from being evenhanded it is actually taking a position that could possibly be viewed as justification for terrorism. If people who use violence as a political tool are supported without condemning their violence then they are tacitly supporting terrorism. The only error Mr. Kaplan made was that he should have called the article Librarians - tacit supporters for terror. I would hope that just as one side can express their opinions so can another. I am sure that this post will be deemed flamebait. All I can say is that expression of my opinion and perspective is just as permitted as those who think differently. To disallow other opinions is truly facism.

The author says: "Some Israel activists then went to Boulder’s Library Commission. Ms. Elturk showed up for the meeting to explain how her program somehow advanced social justice. The Commission deferred to the professional librarian. After all, the thinking went: she is a member of the ALA, so she must know what she is doing. The community members demanding balance on the side of Israel were virtually shut out of their own library system by a propagandist for the PLO..."
This really is too funny for words. As a library trustee who has worked with county supervisors and commissioners for years, the idea of them bowing to ALA membership as an authority of any sort is ludicrous. ALA memebership has never, as far as I know, trumped local politics. Either most library trustees trust the library staff or they don't: ALA membership has nothing to do with it. Evidently Ms. Elturk was more persausive than her opponents. I would certainly consider this a rare vistory for the library staff which had come under criticism.
To many people, the person making the criticism of the staff is always right, and the staff have to defend their positions over and over again.
County supervisors have no clue, either, and more likely would hold ALA membership (like union or guild membership) against the library staff than be impressed with it. Especially in a right-to-work state like Texas, professional, union or guild associations are always suspect.
The single over-riding item the county supervisors want from the library is no controversy they can't control. This either was a non-issue for them, or something they couldn't wrangle in their favor. So they dropped it. But I can hardly credit their decision with awe over ALA membership.
Titles and associations are cheap. In korea, my staff were so afraid of another librarian, that I put "CDL" after my name on my office nameplate. While she may have been the "Dragon Librarian" to the staff, I, of course, was the "Chief Dragon Librarian." Sounds impressive as Hell, but as meaningless to outsiders as my ALA membership.
Or SLA, or MLA, or Virginia Library Association or Middle East Librarian's Association memberships, all of which at one time or another I have held or still have.

Didn't see a word about "evil," but most of the claims in the article should be easy to confirm or deny, like whether Library Juice is leftist/socialist, or that at sometime in the past "American libraries stood at the heart of community education, forming in a positive way the minds and character of our youth, changing lives for the better", or that ALA spent 1.5 million dollars in lawsuits that reached the Supreme Court to oppose the Child Online Protection Act, H.R. 3783, or the political views of the leadership are reflected in scheduled events at national meetings. Yes, for all you fact checkers, this should be a piece of cake.

As the one who created the Libs For Bush page I think I can safely say that we don't carry quite as much influence with ALA as the left end of the political spectrum.

As for 'biased rant', that's all that Moore's mockumentary was and ALA used it as a fundraiser.

....than the articles at FPM, which are of the "enemy of the week" theme (our turn this week) are the comments from the regular readers. Some of whom froth at the mouth whenever red meat is waved enticingly.

Are there socialists, radicals, or left-wing revolutionaries in ALA? Absolutely. Are there librarians and ALA members who support Palestinian causes, and who believe Israel is the enemy? Of course. Do we have to agree with them? No. Do we respect their right to express their views in ALA? Yes. Is any of this news? Of course not.

We shouldn't even dignify this article for the way it portrays all librarians and ALA as being of one mind - or being controlled by the leftist fringe in the organization. I think we are all pretty proud to be members of an organization that tolerates and accepts political views from across the spectrum. Ok, sometimes the radical fringe is loud and there are questionable actions, but that is the price we pay for being in an organization that is inviting to all viewpoints.

Someone should point out to this author that there is a "Librarians for Bush" organization. I wonder how he'd resolve that. It just demonstrates that we're not all left-wing commie-pinko nutjobs. The reality is that the membership of ALA just reflects society at large.

All this aside I have no doubt this article will rocket to the top of the LISNews popularity chart.

Kaplan is full of crap. That commentary reads like something from an ultra-right wing nut who forgot to start his brain before engaging his mouth. The rhetoric is the standard, "you don't agree with me therefore you are unAmerican" nonsense, and "left-wing morons are all commie pinko faggots".

There is, mind you, something underlying his plaint about the changing role of the ALA, but that is almost certainly due to the evolution of society. I doubt seriously that it has become some kind of hard-core left, pro-Palestinian, or Marxist monstrosity, though.