Libraries and Neutrality: Is It Time for a Language Update?

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Libraries have always adapted and grown with their communities, yet some things still seem set in stone. Take for example our stance of “neutral,” which is used in most professional codes of ethics. The idea that we are neutral, or passively catering to every idea out there can evoke rage in even the most mild-mannered patrons and librarians. However, I’ve always argued that neutral in the library context doesn’t mean what it first appears to mean.Libraries strive to treat people … Read More

Whitewashing Cultural Heritage Collections

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Is there a word for something that you don’t know, but you really do know, and also you are a little bit of an idiot? That’s how I felt during Dr. Kimberly Christen’s webinar hosted by OCLC, “We Have Never Been Neutral: Search, Discovery, and the Politics of Access.” She introduced the idea that our drive as digital librarians and archivist to collect, aggregate, and make publicly available as much intellectual content as we can get our hands on is … Read More

On Libraries, Neutrality, and the People of Earth

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While the news is filled with articles and videos about numerous neo-Nazi rallies across the country, the topic of library neutrality inevitably pops up. And this is true. Some flavor of neutrality appears in all ethical codes for library professionals. According to the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’s (IFLA) Code of Ethics for Librarians and other Information Workers, “Librarians and other information workers are strictly committed to neutrality and an unbiased stance regarding collection, access and service. Neutrality … Read More