Reporters without Borders recently released the 2020 World Press Freedom Index, which attempts to measure press freedoms worldwide. This year, they ranked the United States 45th out of 180 countries; up 3 spots from 48th in 2019.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In his dissent, Oliver Wendell Holmes argued that the 1st Amendment protects the right to critique the government, and that right should only be curtailed when there is a “present danger of immediate evil.”
The increasing focus on privacy and antitrust issues, along with how to handle advertising via social media, could mean big changes on the horizon and librarians would do well to consider the potential implications and how we can help our patrons navigate and understand digital consumption.
I can see the appeal – why not cut down to interviewing only the very best candidates? But until we thoroughly address potential privacy and bias issues, and thoroughly consider the impact on potential employees, I think this is one use of AI I am not excited to experience.
However, I think even when it isn’t explicitly discussed, the reader must be thinking about privacy – it’s hard to read about how data was collected regarding racism toward Barack Obama or about sexual problems, for example, without reflecting on what your own search history might say. I think the reader cannot avoid considering privacy issues while reading about just how much data Google (and others) can collect.