Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

The library is a repository of everyone who has ever thought and written. You're about to lose it!

(This diary is written by an American expat living in the European Union who is a male business librarian who holds a graduate library degree (MLS) and a Master’s degree in business administration in marketing).

This diary written in support of library funding discusses the GOP led class warfare full throated assault on library funding, because they’ve decided that libraries are the last truly fully socialized government institution in America.  

Book burnings couldn’t destroy the library, nor could banning books, nor could the ignorance or superstition of the Dark Ages or the branding iron of the inquisition calling certain texts heretical. Libraries have withstood the test of time and great historical disasters, such as the burning of the great library of Alexandria. All cultures even in antiquity value the libraries. Imagine the great libraries and ancient scrolls of Egypt. Let’s also remember the revolution of the Gutenberg printing press, removing economic barriers in creating affordable books. Libraries are where Western and Eastern philosophy have met seamlessly. But now libraries face the greatest threat in all history. It’s not the Internet, nor is it any of the things I’ve listed. It’s you not standing up to the for-profit motive in fee for service librarianship, which constitutes a de facto form of economic censorship, that threatens yet once again to render the masses functionally illiterate by creating a class of information haves and a class of information have nots, by de facto undoing the revolutionary work of the Gutenberg presses, which removed economic barriers to information for the masses.

Let’s consider the fact that some controversial studies have revealed that the majority of the 6 billion people on the planet are barely literate or functionally illiterate. Let’s consider that the hi-tech US military has most of its manuals written at the 9th grade reading level. Let’s consider that social scientists through voluminous studies have formed a strong nexus between crime and low literacy rates, and that in America as we have 2 million people incarcerated, that we have incarcerated nearly more people than exist in the military. Can we really afford this type of staggering loss of human potential? Can we really afford to stand by and watch the end of library public funding grow ever closer and for most people to continue to do nothing!  

The darkness of censorship which is the fee for service librarianship is spreading and as it does library budgets continue to shrink. The contagion that this darkness spreads is illiteracy and therein a lack of tolerance. The rebirth of superstition and morals we thought were relegated to the history books to be found only in the chapters of the branding iron of the Dark Ages, whose mindset removes choice and replaces it with censorship and superstition. This censorship is more diabolical than the black pen of previous generations of censors. For this censorship is economic. By creating a class of information haves and information have nots, will your libraries as you’ve come to know them be a thing of the past? Will this be the generation that loses intellectual freedom by a devolution of literacy? Let’s be clear the intellectual freedom of which I speak, librarians believe stem from the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. The American Library Association talks about this in a wonderful document called its Freedom to Read Statement.…

That is to say we believe your freedom to read stems from the First Amendment freedom of speech. What good is it for someone to say something if you can’t read it or access it in a publicly accessible medium. At a time when the plutocracy by de facto owns the American airwaves through medium consolidation. When America is virtually the only major industrialized country in the world that doesn’t have state run media. Doesn’t the library then become more important than ever to educate and inform the American electorate.

To parents, to grandparents, to aunts and uncles, to neighbors and friends, in other words to all of you:  

Do you really know how many different books and information CDs it is going to take to turn that special child in your life into a reader for life? And the variety of books that it will take in many different genres to open the mind of that special child for a lifetime.

(Let’s please remember that the modern library is also a database center).

We’re talking about enlightenment, and here let me quote Aristotle who said, when asked what the difference is between the enlightened and the unenlightened? He said it was the difference between the living and the dead.

A word about censorship and intellectual freedom:

In the past the censor has said we are not trying to oppress you or hold you and your children ignorant so that we can exploit your labor, which is basically the only thing the working class have to sell in the class warfare paradigm. We the censor are trying to protect you from injurious thoughts and immorality. We try to protect you from deceptions and perversions. For this labor of love we ask nothing of you by way of payment except your trust. So it is that the censor says trust me, I have your best interests at heart. You don’t need to see this book, and you say well let me have a look at it and you say why can’t I look at it? I will decide for myself, and reject en masse the things that are evil, immoral and wrong. At which point the question becomes, if we withhold that information from you through the economic censorship of fee for service librarianship as early as childhood, that allows you to understand what is evil, what is immoral and what is wrong, don’t we then run the risk of your moral compass never being able to truly develop? What is the cost of that to society? What is the cost of that to you? What will it cost that special child?

Do we know what the true cost is of not funding libraries? Do we understand the creative process with free thought association in an atmosphere of intellectual freedom, which in the mind’s eye of a child not yet born, through intellectual freedom may hold the key to the cure for cancer and other equally devastating plagues. Do we really understand the role that intellectual freedom plays in the creative process and the role that a free society can, should and must support intellectual freedom, not just out of respect for generations passed, who have provided us with this secure inheritance, but also for our posterity in perpetuity. Can we really afford ourselves to be trapped behind the hatred of the burny eyed, budget axed wielding Tea Bagger crowd, who want to take a battle axe to the library, because they have identified it as the last fully socialized institution in America where everyone is equal from the mayor and millionaire residents right down to the family living in a homeless shelter. Library card holders all, who as such have the exact same access, to the exact same services.

The social philanthropist Carnegie’s dream was for America to have libraries from coast to coast, accessible to everyone. The library is the last vestige of a fully socialized public institution in all of America that is a public good and you’re about to lose it! But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can stop the GOP led class warfare struggle. It’s simple, all you have to do is care enough to keep at bay the economic censorship of fee for service librarianship.  

PS: Here is the link to the Progressive Friends of the Library group at the Daily Kos.

Membership is open to everyone.…

Or email me if you’re interested in joining the group.

(Cross posted by author from the Daily Kos.)

1 comment

  1. sricki

    this diary. Sorry, DR.

    And I may be likely to miss future diaries too. I worked a 12 hour day yesterday, and will probably be working at least 9 hour days for a while from here on out. Feel free to message me (if you think about it) when you have a diary up, and I’ll rec/comment when I get home.

    The statistics about worldwide illiteracy are truly disturbing. They key to so much knowledge and enlightenment is in reading, and libraries are so important in making such knowledge/information available to those who can read. A truly precious asset.

    The GOP has great interest not only in destroying a socialized institution, but in keeping the masses ignorant. Knowledge and learning are dangerous to Republicans (in terms of getting elected), and it’s one of the reasons that they’re also so anti-science. It is crucially important that awareness of these issues is raised.

    Thanks for this diary, DR, and all the work you are doing.

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