Social media apps on a smart phone

US Eyes TikTok Ban While Books are Pulled From Hong Kong Libraries

A ban seems a bit like using a meat cleaver where a scalpel might be more appropriate. I’m also troubled by the potential message a TikTok ban sends; we want to encourage China to be more protective of and open to free speech, especially in light of the troubling shift toward censorship in Hong Kong. Can we really do that if we are banning their apps? By banning their apps, are we taking steps in that same direction?

Children of Blood & Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Exploring Social Justice through Sci-Fi & Fantasy

I personally really enjoy (if “enjoy” can be considered the right word) the exploration of tough social justice issues through the lens of fantasy or science-fiction – often through the vehicle of anti-magic prejudice. I feel the fantasy context allows the reader to take a step back from the real world, while allowing the reader to think critically about equality and justice in a less personally challenging way.

Protesters in silhouette

When can the government prevent me from assembling, anyway?

Ultimately, while there may be arguments about the wisdom of these stay-at-home orders, and perhaps other constitutional arguments to be made, I don’t think the argument that they violate the right to assembly or the right to religion is particularly persuasive. Let’s cross our fingers that these social distancing measures work, and we can all go back to “normal” soon, making this debate a distant memory.

COVID 19: Health care crisis and mis-information

As librarians, we can help during this current outbreak by curating lists of reliable sources and, as much as possible, being available (in many cases remotely) to provide reference services and point our users to reliable sources. We can continue to do what we always do – serve as touchstones for patrons looking for reliable information in a time of stress. We can do our best to help them sort through the bad and misleading information and promote the more reliable information.

Lisa Hoover, Public Services Librarian at Clarkson University, and Michelle Young, Dean of Libraries at Clarkson University, at the NYS Capitol building on Legislative Advocacy Day. Photo by Ginger Tebo, School Library System Director at St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES.

Advocating for our patrons

Overall, going to legislative advocacy day was a really positive experience. I think it is important for librarians to speak up about the importance of libraries and the needs of our patrons. Many of our patrons – especially in school libraries – can’t speak up for themselves about what they need. In today’s fiscal climate, I think we need to speak up to make sure we can continue to serve our patrons’ needs.

A newspaper silencing their own reporter: what about free speech?

I was fascinated to wake up to the headline “Washington Post reporter who tweeted about Kobe Bryant rape allegations placed on administrative leave” recently. My first thought was “What? I must have read that wrong.” But I didn’t – The Washington Post reported itself that it had suspended political reporter Felicia Sonmez after she “sparked a furious backlash” by posting about the rape allegations from 2003 against Kobe Bryant shortly after his death in a helicopter crash.

Hands on a fence.

Charging for the right to read: who really pays?

Ultimately, when it comes to a fundamental right like reading, all prisoners should have equal access regardless of ability to pay. As I have argued before, reading can play an important role in educating and rehabilitating those prisoners who want to reform. When we place barriers to information between prisoners and rehabilitation, I would argue that they aren’t the only ones who pay – we all do.