LIBRARIAN KELLEY’S RESPONSE (TO THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION AND ASSOCIATION FOR BOOKMOBILE SERVICES) SOLICITATION TO JOIN BLACK LIVES MATTER
From: [email protected] <[email protected]> on behalf of President ABOS <[email protected]>Sent: Monday, June 8, 2020 1:48 PM
To: ABOS-Outreach Google Group (Listserve)
Subject: [ABOS-Outreach] Fwd: ALA Libraries Respond – Black Lives Matter
Since 2016, ODLOS has maintained the Libraries Respond page – a resource for addressing current social justice issues. Our newest installment is Libraries Respond – Black Lives Matter.
The library profession suffers from a persistent lack of racial and ethnic diversity that shows few signs of improving. In 2018, just 6.8 percent of librarians identified as Black or African American. Many people are feeling helpless, but there are many ways we can center the voices and experiences of Black library workers and the Black community, support the broader Black Lives Matter movement, fight against police violence, and further the cause of racial justice.
This resource provides key definitions and concrete tools for library workers on how they can be involved in the Black Lives Matter movement, from resources on educating yourself to critically examining library policies.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch ([email protected]) if you have any questions or resources you recommend for this page.
Outreach and Communications Program Officer, Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services
American Library Association
225 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60601
P: 312-280-2140 or 800-545-2433 ext. 2140
E: [email protected]
Pronouns: She, Her, and Hers
on behalf of
Ron Kelley <[email protected]>
Tue 6/9/2020 8:13 AM
President ABOS <[email protected]>;
ABOS-Outreach Google Group (Listserve) <[email protected]>;
ABOS Friends and Associates,
The propagandistic posting below, apparently forwarded from the current president of ABOS, about the Black Lives Matter organization is extremely unwise. Overt politicization of this list-serv will destroy this forum. Do members want a political battlefield, strong-armed by ALA-sanctioned propaganda, or an open exchange forum for outreach improvement? Or, truly, in the heart of our festering Culture Wars, are only dictated political perspectives permitted about library outreach programs in these discussions? Such ham-handed, totalitarian directives are apparently endorsed by ABOS, as well as the ALA, to the obvious exclusion of other views. Will this ABOS discussion group kick out (censor) individuals who advocate for a non-political forum?
It’s an old adage that is increasingly under attack: Libraries should provide aid and information to ALL who seek it and not function as a politicized, prejudicial Advocacy Factory.
Diversity? Inclusion? 82% of American librarians are women. Why no interest in gender diversity in this genre of workplace? Or is the presumption here that of the usual “social justice” template, that all males are innately oppressors, naturally affluent, born cursed, and they don’t like “women’s work?” Or are men relatively illiterate? Which stereotype suffices to righteously ignore this glaring stat about women’s dominance of the library world?
Here, below, are some Black authors with alternative perspectives on the Black Lives Matter movement, and/or beyond. I’ve read/viewed some of this material, but not all of it. I formally endorse nothing, I do not know all of which every individual advocates, but recognize that the fundamental purpose of a library is to provide a broad range of information/materials for ALL patrons, and a wide realm of fact and opinion, not solely bending to a favorite, dictated ideological line. A much-needed “diversity of viewpoints,” perhaps the greatest diversity of them all, cuts across race, class, and gender.
Libraries – and this discussion forum — should remain apolitical. ALA — and ABOS, apparently now in tow by the neck — adheres to one-dimensional thought in heralding a single political view while implicitly dismissing/censoring other perspectives, something akin to Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, or Orwell’s masterpieces. Ignoring some strains of thought — and relentlessly highlighting, and overtly advocating for, others — is a discrete form of censorship, as any librarian knows in collection development.
Library workers are supposed to be informed. They ought to be readers, and open wide the doors to ALL visitors, not shut – or narrow — them.
And a librarians’ job should be to serve their communities’ respective needs, not to manipulate information and tell people what to think.
The ALA email below solicits activism in the Black Lives Matter movement and offers “resources on educating yourself.” In this regard, do you think that this grossly prejudicial email would dare to encompass the following?
A few ALTERNATIVE BLACK VOICES, with samples of their works:
Taleeb Starkes: Black Lies Matter: Why Lies Matter to the Race Grievance Industry
Candace Owens: Blackout: How Black Americans Can Make Its Second Escape from the Democrat Plantation
Jesse Lee Peterson: host of the video program “The Fallen State.” His video interview with members of Black Lives Matter is, by his own word, “amazing.”
David Clarke: Cop under Fire: Moving beyond Hashtags of Race, Crime and Politics for a Better America
Keith B. Richburg: Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa
Erik Rush: Negrophilia: From Slave Block to Pedestal – America’s Racial Obsession
Jason L. Riley: Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed
Larry Elder. (You Tube Interview: Black Lives Matter, Racism, pt. 2 — A Conservative Perspective)
Conti, Faryna, Stetson: Black and Right: The Bold New Voice of Black Conservatives in America
There are many more alternative Black perspectives, but they are not popularly heralded by those with vested ideological devotion to Marxism, post-Modernism, and/or, generally, the “social justice” narratives of the political Left, i.e. the likes of the American Library Association. The ALA has long since failed – by conscious political design – to be an objective arbiter of what is or is not “fake news.” (See, for example, its endorsement of the prejudicial and partisan ideology of “critical librarianship,” which rejects the aims of an objective neutrality. Examine also what brand of individual speaks at the ALA’s conventions, both national and sectional. And who/what is forbidden its forum.)
For a broader critical perspective about the “Identity Politics” avalanche in our times, see, for example:
Heather MacDonald: The War on Cops
Heather MacDonald: The Diversity Delusion
Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning: The Rise of Victimhood Culture: Microaggressions, Safe Spaces, and the New Culture Wars
Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt: The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure
Michael Rectenwald. Springtime for Snowflakes: Social Justice and Its Postmodern Parentage
Jordan Peterson. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life was a recent bestseller, but he catapulted to fame for resisting “politically correct” mandates in Canada. Peterson is prolific throughout the internet, but one of his most famous interviews was with “progressive” journalist Cathy Newman.
Other valuable reading, per the new enforced political orthodoxies that are sweeping our society in the bitter Culture Wars, must include:
This is an online academic organization with a membership of nearly 4,000 scholars, who are concerned about “enhancing viewpoint diversity,” i.e., breaking the totalitarian tone metastasizing throughout university culture, including censorial intolerance to alternative perspectives, and the enforcement of groupthink shepherding.
Of course there are others throughout ABOS, and beyond, who recognize the truths here I state. But we live in a New World climate of fear and intimidation wherein objectors to ardent propaganda are bullied into silence. Few speak out to resist for concern of the inevitable avalanche that will be wrought upon them: systemic smears (see Sheryl Atkinson’s The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote), censorship, threats, intimidation, and attacks upon views that don’t tow the “correct” Party Line – the one that dominates when all others are sufficiently purged.
George Floyd endured an atrocity and justice will be served. But there are many commentators, with an abundance of facts and statistics about crime, Black and White alike, who argue that the “systemic racism” charge is bogus. Read and listen to voices other than the ones that are Hell-bent upon insulating us all from our abilities to make up our own minds – and that is only WHEN a full range of information is provided for a genuinely informed democracy to function.
I remind you that, amidst the current — literally riotous — hysteria and our collective memory lapse, this used to be the purpose of a library.
Keep politics out of the workplace. Please go riot on your own time.
After this post, a number of respondents at the discussion lashed out against Kelley with personal attacks. (A handful contacted him with supportive words, in secret). He was publicly assailed, however, as “hateful,” “dishonest,” etc. He responded by trying to post a rebuttal, defending his reputation and integrity, at the ABOS discussion group, but it was censored by ABOS administrators. Based on information received via a Freedom of Information Act request, two individuals avoided public debate and contacted the Flagstaff Public Library with complaint — Cathy Zimmerman, the president of of ABOS, by phone, and Mike Schull, a librarian in Indiana, by email. Kelley was soon fired.
Mr. Schull said this:
Date: June 9, 2020
As a member of the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (an affiliate of the American Library Association), I was surprised and frankly horrified to see the below e-mail pass through the ABOS list-serv this morning. It has certainly been addressed by several members in the last couple of hours acknowledging that “black lives matter” is not a political statement but a moral one, and pointing out that we are members of a diverse organization serving a diverse public. Though I wouldn’t normally take the time to forward what I consider to be an extremely misinformed and misguided rant, I do feel that since this e-mail was sent by an employee of your library’s outreach department through library e-mail (on work time?), that it is worth bringing to your attention. Directing information professionals to dubious sources by extreme (and mostly discredited) voices like David Clarke, Candace Owens, and Jordan Peterson and concluding with, “Please go riot on your own time,” after receiving a straight-forward, ALA-sanctioned statement from the Office of Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services? This is troubling, angering, and quite frankly not how I would think you would want your library reflected within the greater library community.
Mike Schull, MLS
Hancock County Public Library
Which librarian, Schull or Kelley, in a supposed democratic society, would a fair-minded individual trust to provide the public with a variety of facts, perspective, and opinion for people to make up their own minds about any subject? Who is an ideological lackey, and who apparently hustles library visitors with certitude to his own “dubious” political — yes, political — views? And, which individual, if any, fails his job as a librarian and should be fired?
Cowardly Mr. Schull, who skulks in the shadows and dared not debate Kelley, or risk exchanging ideas in any way, is welcome to debate him at this web site, any time, completely unedited. Of course he will not, because the luxury of censoring alternative views (even merely an argument to keep libraries apolitical) doesn’t require arrogant, sanctimonious, and lazy dictators to do anything at all.