Expanding My Perceptions, Correcting My Assumptions

Recently, I read an eye-opening post by Cecily Walker:

On Privilege, Intersectionality, and the Librarian Image (posted on December 20, 2013)

This brought to mind a post I wrote shortly after I started this blog, in which I detailed an experiment that some librarians had done to determine how dress and appearance affect patrons’ perception of them:

Conveying Authority (posted on November 21, 2012)
Continue reading “Expanding My Perceptions, Correcting My Assumptions”

Further Thoughts on the Morton Grove Public Library Controversy

The first and most fundamental obligation of a public library—of any tax-funded public service—is to serve all members of their community equally and impartially.

A public library cannot be allowed to take any action, nor take any official public stance, which jeopardizes or undermines their impartiality or the equity of their service to members of their community.

A Library Board should never be allowed to take any action that puts a public library in such a position.
Continue reading “Further Thoughts on the Morton Grove Public Library Controversy”

Controversy at the Morton Grove Public Library

I saw this article on the Chicago Tribune website today:

Morton Grove Library trustees rejects atheist blogger’s donation by Lee V. Gaines (posted on December 20, 2013)

This really bothers me. That the Board Treasurer is so ignorant and intolerant that she considers atheism a “hate group”. That she took it upon herself to act as the morality police for the community. That five members of the Library Board consider it more important to take this discriminatory stance than to accept needed funds to maintain library services.

The article makes no mention of any stipulations attached to the donation, and I confirmed that there were none—the Morton Grove Public Library wouldn’t have been required to purchase materials on atheism with the money, or take any action to promote atheism to the community. The donation was a no-strings-attached attempt by an interested private citizen who wanted to help.

Furthermore, public institutions funded by tax revenues are prohibited from taking any official stance on religious matters. To render any explicit judgement—either positive or negative—regarding the legitimacy of any religious belief or system is a violation of the public trust.

I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t say with certainly, but I would be curious to know if it’s a violation of law, too.

To refuse a donation from a private individual because of that individual’s religious beliefs is an explicit negative endorsement of those beliefs. That would make it an explicit violation of the prohibition against a tax-funded public institution from taking such a position.

I encourage all interested tax-paying residents of Morton Grove to petition the Library Board to reconsider their decision. I encourage the community to consult with civil rights attorneys to establish the legality of this action.

And please understand—this is not an action undertaken by the librarians or staff of the Morton Grove Public Library. This decision was made solely by their Board.

Frustration, at a Crossroads

This blog is stagnating. When I started it, I wrote about so many things—mostly about libraries and the issues we face, but also about… whatever I felt like. I always had dozens of little notes all over the place with ideas for new posts to write.

At this moment, I only have two new posts in the works. And the frequency of my posting has trended consistently downwards since I began this blog.

It’s not that I’m any less passionate about libraries than I was when I started it. It’s not that I’m any less committed to figuring out all the myriad things we need to figure out. It’s certainly not a lack of ideas or opinions!

It’s just that I’m tired of writing about these things. I feel like I’m writing and not doing.
Continue reading “Frustration, at a Crossroads”