The University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio has reinstated the library's subscription to the New York Times. The library dean, Mendell D. Morgan, Jr., had cancelled it to protest the newspaper's publication of a secret CIA program to track the financial dealings of terrorists.
Some library staffers had complained about "censorship" when Morgan cancelled the print newspaper, although I find that charge specious. The cry of "censorship" is a knee-jerk reaction for some librarians who use it to hide their true reason for opposing the removal of something--their personal affinity with its sentiments.
Librarians "censor" things all the time by buying books they agree with and not purchasing the ones with a differing viewpoint. The myth of librarians as unbiased arbiters of the provision of information is undeserved.
Academic librarians are supposed to provide materials that mesh with their university's mission and academic programs. The actions of the New York Times obviously demand some discussion whether it still belongs in some libraries.
To blindly continue to subscribe to a newspaper regardless of what it publishes because it is a famous "staple" is an abdication of responsibility. I hope the librarians who were quick to shout "Censorship!" will give this some thought.
Morgan said he may still cancel the print subscription after discussing the issue with others on campus.
tags: libraries, librarians, new+york+times, incarnate+word