Annoyed Librarian
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SRRT and the Tea Party

You might think it would be difficult to find similarities between the Socially Responsible Round Table and the Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives. However, you would be wrong.

I don’t just mean the fanaticism, although there’s plenty of that. Or the dogmatism. Plenty of that, too. Extremes of left and right often show similarities.

What’s most noticeable is the tenacity at trying to pass resolutions/legislation supported by a vocal minority and failing time and again.

When everyone but Tea Partiers see this behavior in the House, they shake their heads in bewilderment.

The House Republicans voted over 40 times to repeal The Affordable Care Act, with very little success at altering it, and no success at repealing it. Their strategy went from the empty “repeal and replace” to the pointless “let’s fruitlessly vote one more time just to show how angry we are, because this is all about our emotions.” Impotence in power.

Then we get to the ALA Council and the radical left assault on it by SRRT, over and over again. For a long time it was something about the Iraq war. Finally, in 2005, the Council passed a resolution calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and spending the saved money on libraries.

Because of the awesome sway of the ALA Council, sure enough just eight years later U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq. No word yet about whether the savings will be spent on libraries.

Thus, after years of heated exchanges and tiresome calls for a resolution, the Council finally passed a resolution that had absolutely no effect on the world other than making a few councilors feel good about themselves.

Now, it’s Edward Snowden, and SRRT has repeatedly tried to get a resolution passed with his name attached to it. The Council even passed a pro-whistleblower resolution, but darn it, that’s not good enough.

In Philadelphia, SRRT tried once again, and the resolution about Edward Snowden failed once again.

Here’s the resolution:

“Resolved, that the American Library Association (ALA) recognizes Edward Snowden, as a whistleblower who, in releasing information that documents the mass surveillance programs of the National Security Agency, has performed a valuable service in launching a dialogue about transparency, government surveillance, and overclassification.”

Not particularly racy, but a lot of Councilors don’t want particular people named in this way. SRRT does, as evidenced by their repeated attempts to get the ALA to specifically back Julian Assange a while back.

So apparently it’s not enough to support whistleblowers, if you can count an ALA Council resolution as support for anything more than their feelings. Specific people have to be named.

What’s ridiculous is that SRRT has managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory every time they put this resolution up for a vote. The whistleblower resolution passed, and can easily cover Snowden and Assange.

Oh well. If it wasn’t for SRRT and their crazy antics, there would be nothing worth talking about the ALA Council at all. Like the Tea Party House Republicans, they might not be able to get anything done, but their entertainment value is worth something.

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Comments

  1. If you’re part of the “Socially Responsible Round Table” at the “American Library Association,” don’t you have a social responsibly to stop the open and silent sexual harassment of librarians that result from unfettered porn in libraries that is permitted/encouraged by management despite the law? Yes, this is my constant topic, but think about it. How many librarians are out there are being sexually harassed at work in libraries, and library employees who are not librarians, and who are afraid to speak up for fear of losing their jobs because opposing the “Office for Intellectual Freedom” pro porn policy is a career limiting move? I would think a “social responsibility” of librarians at the “American Library Association” would be to ensure other librarians are not subjected to workplace harassment resulting from unlimited porn viewing on library computers..

    Your story is about how completely useless are SRRT’s “radical left” political efforts having nothing to do with librarianship, except for the entertainment value. Imagine if SRRT focused instead on issues that directly affected librarians and actually took responsibility for protecting each other from workplace sexual harassment. Now THAT would be socially responsible.

    Oh yes, OIF just spoke at Orland Park Public Library saying sexual harassment of librarians happens so extremely rarely that no one ever need worry about it. So there will be zero chance SRRT or anyone at ALA will ever address the sexual harassment of librarians. So much for social responsibility.

  2. anonymous says:

    How is a person exercising their right to free speech sexual harassment? Unless the patron is trying to engage you in some way with their pornography, they are not harassing you. I hope others in the ALA do not follow your lead, as it runs counter to everything we are supposed to believe in.

    • @anonymous (10:59 am):

      The US Supreme Court has ruled in 2003, in US v. ALA, that, since libraries have always blocked porn with book selection polices, libraries blocking computer porn with Internet filters does not violate anyone’s First Amendment rights. Free speech does not require public libraries to make porn available. Thanks to the case ALA lost, libraries may freely block porn and those that do have librarians and library employees who are not forced to work in a hostile work environment. No library has ever been sued for blocking porn, though several have been sued for allowing porn.

      And, by the way, ALA never aids librarians sexually harassed in the workplace as a result of unfettered Internet porn. For example, that new Lemony Snicket award ALA just created for librarians “who have faced adversity” will never be awarded to a librarian suffering from sexual harassment in the workplace. Heck, ALA’s OIF just recently said such harassment hardly ever happens.

      “I hope others in the ALA do not follow your lead, as it runs counter to everything we are supposed to believe in.” Scary. First of all, it’s not “my lead.” Rather, it’s the US Supreme Court, or it’s the Bradburn v. NCRL case where librarians need not unblock porn even upon request. The scary part is I hope “everything we are supposed to believe in” does not include unlimited porn that runs counter to the law and that harms librarians, library employees, and patrons.

      It would be once to see SRRT take on an issue such as that instead of merely providing entertainment, as AL points out.

      It would be nice if ANYONE at ALA had the guts to speak out in support of sexually harassed librarians harassed as a result of unfettered porn due to library policy based on OIF policy that actually started with ACLU’s Judith Krug. ALA recently acted to protect sexually harassed librarians harassed by other librarians at library conferences. So at least ALA goes that far.

    • Me! says:

      I regret agreeing with Safe Libraries but have you ever been in a library where someone is viewing porn at night? I promise you it makes you feel unsafe and harassed and if you don’t great for you but you are not everyone.

      Let’s not be hypocritical here, all librarians make “collections development decisions” that don’t really go along with the freedom of speech/expression party line that the ALA gives out.

      Like perhaps picking an Obama biography over a a Sarah Palin one. Or making sure there aren’t books that racist or homophobic despite certain patrons wanting them. You make those decisions (which are good ones) because it is socially better not to have them. Of course I am sure that if a patron requested them you may acquiesce but it wouldn’t be your first choice now would it?

      There is nothing wrong with having a filter and making the patron ask to have it removed just like there isn’t anything wrong with not having any Jenny McCarthy anti-vaccines books and only requesting them through inter-library loan.

    • Frumious Bandersnatch says:

      I’ve always found the “outrage” over not providing pornography access in a Public Library because of Free Speech rights completely laughable. In the first place, failure to provide a forum does not necessarily equate to censorship, and in the second place, while one can argue that pornography fills a niche recreational purpose, one can hardly argue that it has a vital educational component. Are we disregarding the First Amendment when we choose not to purchase Celebrity Hairstyles Monthly? To me, the argument over pornography is exactly as consequential.

  3. Dennis383 says:

    Is Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries the Tea Party or the SRRT of the Annoyed Librarian blog?

    I thought about adding a tl;dr as part of my response to his post but realized it wouldn’t be true. His posts aren’t that long. I just can’t be bothered to read them anymore.

  4. Frumious Bandersnatch says:

    Who was it that said “It’s amazing how drunk some people can get on so little power?” I really wish all elements of the ALA would focus on promoting and supporting the actual profession that they supposedly represent, rather than passing meaningless resolutions based on their delusion that, after the UN and the Amnesty International, the ALA is the next obvious heavyweight in the global human rights struggle.

  5. Frumious Bandersnatch says:

    Who was it that said “It’s amazing how drunk some people can get on so little power?” I really wish all elements of the ALA would focus on promoting and supporting the actual profession that they supposedly represent, rather than passing meaningless resolutions based on their delusion that, after the UN and Amnesty International, the ALA is the next obvious heavyweight in the global human rights struggle.