Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Sickness That Afflicts ALA

Brent Bozell III makes the point in a recent column that the American Library Association (ALA) doesn't really stand for "intellectual freedom" at all. ALA has become a far Left advocacy group that censors information from opposing viewpoints.

Every year ALA whines about books that are "challenged" by the public, as if there is something wrong with that. As Bozell writes:
ALA doesn't favor open discussion and debate with parents -- which is what the "challenges" represent. It's idea of "freedom" is emboldening librarians to be brave enough to indoctrinate children with what they really need to know, whether their parents object or even know about it. If public debate follows, it's viewed as a distasteful and unfortunate bump on the road to enlightenment.
I think any organization could make it its own business to provide an annual list of popular conservative books not available in many libraries and "challenge" them to stock the books. As Bozell says, the act of selecting some books while excluding others is a censorious act, and one that all libraries engage in. To be a librarian is to be a censor, so it is disingenuous for ALA to scream about censorship when they do it themselves in such an ugly way and, forgetting social agendas, it is the job of librarians to censor, but it is supposed to be done responsibly. ALA's method earns a grade of F.

ALA and its gay roundtable promote the idea of a "reviewer" looking through books in search of "negative attitudes" towards gays and to then censor those books. Bozell writes:
Doesn't this sound like librarians want to appoint a guardian to screen out and counteract "negative stereotypic attitudes"? In other words, an official censor?
It's easy for Bozell and others to point out ALA's hypocrisy, since it is drenched in it in so many ways. The unfortunate losers are the library users who naively expect librarians to be information referees rather than partisan advocates. "Information wants to be free," but it is enchained to ALA's radical agenda in many public and academic libraries.

Will things change once the baby boomers raised in the 60s retire in huge numbers over the next 5-10 years? Perhaps not, because once an organization becomes radicalized, it is self-feeding and becomes more and more partisan regardless of who stays or who goes.

So how to turn the tables and right this leftward listing ship before it sinks? Some of the characters in a novel I'm writing called Murder at the ALA Conference have an idea about that, if I can ever finish it.