Ryan Dowd is great. He really is – his positive attitude and commitment to empathy for all human beings is something the world needs, especially in this current moment. But, I have to remind myself, Ryan Dowd is not a librarian.
It’s frustrating to see a Library Trustee – presumably someone who loves libraries – making these statements because they seem so antithetical to what libraries do. It’s not entirely clear what he wants as a solution, but at the very least it seems like he’s asking the library to ignore current events and to hide collections on controversial subjects. I’m also saddened by the implication that by including something on the library website the library is “promoting” it. Librarians buy and check out materials every day we disagree with; that’s our job.
There is a mural at the University of Kentucky that was done in 1934 by Ann Rice O’Hanlon. This mural depicts both Black people and Native American people in derogatory, racist ways including slavery. In 2017, the university commissioned a response piece by Black artist Karyn Olivier. The two pieces are now intertwined, yet the university wants to remove the O’Hanlon piece in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.
The Republican Right humiliated and punished all but its true believers, in a purge that left it less responsive to a changing world, and undercut broad support. Is the Left repeating the play?
Harper’s Magazine recently ran an open letter calling for the reestablishment of open debate in this culture war being fought on the front lines of social media. It was refreshing to learn of a written rebuttal to this open letter, but the cause would benefit more if you didn’t read it at all.
By guest contributor E. F. Schraeder. These are risks and possibilities when a librarian opts to honor PRIDE month or recognize LGBTQ authors and readers throughout the year in other ways. Each June almost like clockwork, it seems some library or other is on the receiving end of public noise: shame or praise, for hosting or cancelling an event with LGBTQ community members in mind.
I’m relieved that Juan Vidal is not a librarian. The condescending and short-sighted tone of his article “Your Bookshelf May Be Part of the Problem” is so anathema to librarianship and the joy of reading it made my face contort.
The ability to stymy humiliation, to withhold judgement about intellectual pursuits is a pillar of intellectual freedom. Hachette’s recent move to cancel Woody Allen’s memoir represents an irreparable crack in this pillar as it buckles to sentiments anathema to an adult’s right to read.
The controversy surrounding American Dirt has eclipsed the novel entirely. And while it has spurred a worthy dialogue about the right to read (and write), the core message of the book has been lost in the midst.
The framers of the Constitution did not anticipate texting your boyfriend to encourage his suicide, or the sending of strobe GIFs that precipitate epileptic seizures. Sometimes, free speech is a crime.