[IFLA-L] Open Societies are Healthy Societies: IFLA rejects unjustified barriers to the free movement of persons

Human Rights | Library ethics & Advocacy | Freedom of Movement

logo-iflaOpen Societies are Healthy Societies

Libraries are at the heart of healthy societies. By bringing people together – students, researchers, creators, citizens – they support learning, sharing, and the creation of new ideas.

They also support the delivery of key human rights, as set out both in national constitutions and international conventions, most importantly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: freedom of expression and access to information, as well as the right to participate in cultural life and enjoy the benefits of scientific progress.

Libraries have long supported the flow of ideas and information across borders. IFLA has called for reforms to laws that hold this back. Evidence shows that such flows promote innovation and creativity, which in turn drives growth, jobs and equality everywhere.

However, arbitrary and unjustified barriers to the movement of people jeopardise this situation. Such policies run contrary to states’ obligations under international law, which prohibit discrimination of any kind on the basis of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, as set out in the UN’s New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.

Read more:  www.ifla.org/node/11176

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Stand, Fight, Resist

 

December 16, 2016

 

The idea that libraries are neutral spaces has been well and disabused over the last few years. From the services we offer to the collections that we curate, the decisions that libraries and librarians make are political ones that reflect values. Sometimes those are the values of the organization, sometimes the values of the individuals, and sometimes they are the values of the communities that the library serves. Those values are illustrated by our technologies, our ontologies, and our descriptors. Those who attempt to hold that “neutrality” of information access is an ideal for which to strive have had a hard time holding to that stance as increasing numbers of librarians question and deconstruct our profession. I would like to suggest something even stronger…that even if it were possible for libraries to be neutral spaces, that to create such a space would be morally questionable, and potentially actively morally wrong.

I say this as someone who firmly believes in the maxim of combating bad speech with more speech. I am not here advocating controls or restrictions on speech. But it is not the responsibility of every library to collect and distribute literature of hate, or falsehoods, or lies. Some libraries do need to collect everything, the good and the bad, for archival and historical study purposes, but those libraries are fairly obviously identified in practice and the vast majority of libraries should and could take a stand with their actions, programs, policies, and collections to be on the side of justice and scientific fact.

Neutrality favors the powerful, and further marginalizes the marginalized. In the face of the current political climate, with the use of opinions as bludgeons and disinformation as the weapon of choice for manipulation and intellectual coercion, it is up to those who value fact and believe in the care of those in need to stand up and positively affirm that to do otherwise is evil.

I say this as someone who firmly believes in the maxim of combating bad speech with more speech. I am not here advocating controls or restrictions on speech. But it is not the responsibility of every library to collect and distribute literature of hate, or falsehoods, or lies. Some libraries do need to collect everything, the good and the bad, for archival and historical study purposes, but those libraries are fairly obviously identified in practice and the vast majority of libraries should and could take a stand with their actions, programs, policies, and collections to be on the side of justice and scientific fact.

Neutrality favors the powerful, and further marginalizes the marginalized. In the face of the current political climate, with the use of opinions as bludgeons and disinformation as the weapon of choice for manipulation and intellectual coercion, it is up to those who value fact and believe in the care of those in need to stand up and positively affirm that to do otherwise is evil. Read article

 

Values for the Trump Era

Philosopher proposes a code of conduct for academics in a time of political uncertainty. MIT faculty members affirm their commitment to shared values.

November 30, 2016
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Stephen Bannon, a key Trump aide whose views concern many academics

 

Academics (and journalists) have been accused in the aftermath of the presidential election of being “out of touch” with the American electorate. At the same time, academics have played important leadership roles in eras and places in which free expression has come under threat — as some believe it is now in the U.S.

What is the role of the academic in such an era, or, at the very least, what are the academic’s obligations to his or her profession, campus and government? Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto (and a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen), this week proposed what she’s calling the Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct.

Here’s the 10-point code in full:

  • I will not aid in the registering, rounding up or internment of students and colleagues on the basis of their religious beliefs.
  • I will not aid in the marginalization, exclusion or deportation of my undocumented students and colleagues.
  • I will, as my capacities allow, discourage and defend against the bullying and harassment of vulnerable students and colleagues targeted for important aspects of their identity (such as race, gender, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, etc.).
  • I will not aid government or law enforcement in activities which violate the U.S. Constitution or other U.S. law.
  • I will not aid in government surveillance. I will not inform.
  • As a teacher and researcher, I will not be bought or intimidated. I will present the state of research in my field accurately, whether or not it is what the government wants to hear. I will challenge others when they lie. Read more…

Preserving Our Values Libraries as social change agents

May 31, 2016

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In 1999, the American Library Association (ALA) Council adopted the statement “Libraries: An American Value.” The principles in that document, in the Library Bill of Rights, and in our mission all speak to the importance of libraries as agents of change and protectors of our heritage. These books speak to those principles.

The Intellectual Freedom Manual is a guide to providing library service in support of First Amendment rights. For the manual’s 9th edition, the background information on its policies has been pulled into a separate volume, A History of ALA Policy on Intellectual Freedom: A Supplement to the Intellectual Freedom Manual, compiled by editor Trina Magi and assistant editor Martin Garnar for ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. The essays on these core intellectual freedom documents and their interpretations provide insights on why they were developed, as well as narratives on events that precipitated discussions that led to agreed-upon practices for dealing with issues. Two of the three core documents, the Library Bill of Rights and the Code of Ethics, both adopted by ALA Council in 1939, informed the third, the Freedom to Read Statement, which was adopted in 1953. These were documents of their time, and the histories of their evolution are important reading. ALA Editions, 2015. 172 P. $85. PBK. 978-0-8389-1325-3. (Also available as an ebook.)

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Powerful Psychological Forces That Make Good People Do Bad Things by Travis Bradberry

aaeaaqaaaaaaaaujaaaajgnmmjc0mtczlwm4odqtndg2mi1imdzlltq4otu2mzgwmmjjnwGiven the right circumstances, good people can get caught up in some very bad things. More often than not, psychology is to blame.

When it comes to unethical behavior, good people don’t tend to go right off the deep end like Bernie Madoff or Kenneth Lay. Rather, the mind plays tricks on them, pushing them down the slippery slope of questionable behavior.

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” -C. S. Lewis

Dr. Muel Kaptein, Professor of Business Ethics and Integrity Management at the Rotterdam School of Management, has studied bad behavior for decades. A study he recently published sheds considerable light on what motivates good people to do bad things.

What follows are 14 of Dr. Kaptein’s most compelling findings into how the mind tricks good people into losing their moral compass and going astray.

The compensation effect. The compensation effect refers to the tendency for people to assume they accumulate moral capital. We use good deeds to balance out bad deeds, or alternately, we give ourselves breaks from goodness, like a piece of chocolate after a week of salads. This makes people more inclined to do bad things under the guise of “I’m a good person” or “It’s just this one thing.” A great example of this is a study in which people were observed lying and cheating more after they made the decision to purchase products that were good for the environment. Read more…