The Sad Story of Librarians’ Uncritical Attitude Toward Governmental Information

One proud example of librarians NOT being uncritical and indifferent toward Govt info

The fight against The Patriot Act: One proud example of librarians NOT being uncritical and indifferent toward Govt info

About this blog

I admit having been a crude moralist toward my librarian colleagues for years. It all started back in 2001 when I wrote a book, «-Videst mulig informasjon-» (in Norwegian only) on the sad story of many librarians’ indifferent and uncritical attitude toward governmental information, which is of course very often the propaganda of the majority of the city council or the parliament and government.

My article ‘Information Services and the Independent Public Library’ is a summary in English of this book, published in Information for Social Change (ISC) No. 18, Winter 2003 (pdf). Page 24 ff.

Excerpt:

«… by presenting official [governmental] information as a genre of its own similar to fiction and non-fiction and without offering any contrary information on the same subject, librarians are in my opinion failing in their duty. An absence of conflicting views is harmful to social processes and leads to a more superficial democracy.  … I also maintain that public libraries and their staff together with their national professional bodies reveal an attitude towards the authorities and their information activities which is uncritical and sometimes purely subservient. When loyalty is challenged there is a tendency towards self-censorship. Furthermore, any signs of tackling these problems have been ignored by central library forums».

Read the full text of the book at the National Library, however available for Norwegian IPs only.

Anders E.

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