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  • 1.  National Library Week

    Posted 04-24-2023 12:22

    This is National Library Week.  It is a week where we consider and honor the contributions of libraries and librarians in civic life.<o:p></o:p>

    Now, more than ever, public and school librarians need to be supported in their work because they are becoming targets in the ongoing culture wars over library materials.  One need only look at the press for stories of book bans and the defunding of libraries over materials that some consider objectionable.<o:p></o:p>

    We in law and special libraries must stay keenly aware of the difficulties our colleagues in public and school libraries are facing.  We must make common cause with them and remind the constituencies that we work with, be it lawyers in a law firm, executives and employees of a corporation, academics in colleges and universities, or government employees in government libraries, of the fundamental notions of freedom of inquiry, freedom to research and most importantly, the freedom to read.<o:p></o:p>

    I had the opportunity to hear ALA Executive Director Tracie Hall speak at the City Club of Chicago last week.  She started her remarks with the shout-out FREE PEOPLE READ FREELY.  We need to remember that our future as a free society hinges on the ability of people to read and judge ideas for themselves.  Accessible libraries and library materials are key to remaining a free people.<o:p></o:p>

    This is not the first time libraries and libraries have come under fire, but librarians are very resilient.  A story told to me by an esteemed colleague proves this.  In 1967, there was a massive snowstorm in the Chicago metro area.  My colleague was in high school at the time, and as it turned out, schools were closed that day.  He also had some library books that were due that way as well.  Prudently, he called the library first to see if it was open, and sure enough, it was.  It was quite clear to my colleague that he needed to get those materials back that day, or fines would be assessed (when library fines were actually a thing).  The point of the story is that while everything in the city was shut down, the library was open for business.<o:p></o:p>

    Please visit your local public library this week and encourage others to do so.<o:p></o:p>

    Eugene Giudice
    Research Services Training Specialist
    (312) 876-7384