Repost: All Hail the PUBLIC Library

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The word ‘public’ has been removed from the name of the Fort Worth Library. I say put the word in capitals!

On the Commons highlights the dangers of taking the public out of public libraries. Read the full article here.

Photo: Takomabibelot on Flickr


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Prisoners Right to Read Incorporated Into ALA’s Library Bill of Rights

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The Library Bill of Rights are statements of basic principles adopted by the ALA Council that govern the service of all libraries, ranging from the rights of youth to service to diversity in collection development. The Library Bill of Rights can be found in the Intellectual Freedom Manual, Eighth Edition, available online. Newly incorporated to the Bill is the Prisoners Right to Read (Adopted by the ALA Council, July 2010) underlining the following selected principles as guidelines to all library services provided to prisoners:

* Collection management should be governed by written policy, mutually agreed upon by librarians and correctional agency administrators, in accordance with the Library Bill of Rights, its Interpretations, and other
ALA intellectual freedom documents.

* Correctional libraries should have written procedures for addressing challenges to library materials, including a policy-based description of the disqualifying features, in accordance with “Challenged Materials” and other relevant intellectual freedom documents.

* Correctional librarians should select materials that reflect the demographic composition, information needs, interests, and diverse cultural values of the confined communities they serve.

* Age is not a reason for censorship. Incarcerated children and youth should have access to a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, as stated in “Free Access to Libraries for Minors.”

* Correctional librarians should make all reasonable efforts to provide sufficient materials to meet the information and recreational needs of prisoners who speak languages other than English.

* Equitable access to information should be provided for persons with disabilities as outlined in “Services to People with Disabilities.”

* Media or materials with non-traditional bindings should not be prohibited unless they present an actual compelling and imminent risk to safety and security.

* Material with sexual content should not be banned unless it violates state and federal law.

* Correctional libraries should provide access to computers and the Internet.

San Francisco Public Library Hires A Social Worker To Assist With Homeless Outreach

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At San Francisco’s main branch public library, the homeless who congregate for warmth, entertainment and the use of public restrooms are approached not by security guards but by a city-employed psychiatric social worker. Leah Esguerra was hired by the San Francisco Main Library and the city’s Department of Public Health a year ago to provide outreach services to the homeless who frequent the library. Since she started, Esguerra has been able to transition 150 people to social services, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Librarians and Human Rights- A Seminar

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The “Courses” page of Kathleen de la Peña McCook’s website includes a list of human rights organizations, primary sources for human rights issues, professional organizations committed to diversity and outreach, and readings and resources including:

Kirkpatrick, A. (2007). Truth and Youth: the First Victims of War – Military Mis-information and the Responsibility of Libraries. Information for Social Change v. 25, Summer.

Lewis, A. (2008). Questioning Library Neutrality: Essays from Progressive Librarian. Duluth: Library Juice Press.

McCook, K.,

(2007). ” Librarians as Advocates for the Human Rights of
Immigrants. Progressive Librarian v. 29, Summer:
p. 51-4.

(2004). “Public Libraries and People in Jail.” Reference and
User Services Quarterly
v. 43: p. 26-30.

(Wikipedia says) Kathleen de la Peña McCook is Distinguished University Professor at the University of South Florida, active in the Tampa Bay area, having participated in the Community Action Board of Hillsborough County, and in an Asset Mapping for Youth Development community initiative. McCook is a community activist, a senator for the United Faculty of Florida Union, and a past member of the Coordinating Committee of the Progressive Librarians Guild. She now serves on the editorial board of the journal, Progressive Librarian.