It has already been “discovered” by particle physicists, anthropologists, and a range of other researchers, that it is impossible to be neutral. Even if it were possible for me to wash away all influences that sway me in a particular direction, I would not want to achieve that state of neutrality. From a moral standpoint, I have no desire to remain neutral when faced with a choice between science based on the scientific method or science based on theology, and between historical fact or hate speech. To hide behind the idea of “neutrality” in such instances is to be party to promulgating misinformation or worse.
~ Alison Lewis, “Introduction“
Currently, I am preparing to lead a class session with my groupmates in LIS590SJL: Social Justice in the Information Professions. We are tasked with covering the present historical moment of social justice in the library and information professions. My group just had its first two meetings. We’re finalizing our materials and will be meeting again this Sunday, February 23, 2014, to set everything before sending off our presentation slides. As the historical thread isn’t as strong for our set of required readings, we opted to use certain themes. Mine is “Moving Forward: Should we be activists? Is that our role?” I thought this was a significant question to ask, especially since what I want in a professional career is impact. Thankfully, my groupmates are supportive of me discussing the idea of library neutrality. Goody! Ideas have been germinating in my head for a while now, I’ve done some research, some thinking, and some writing, so I hope to go into our Sunday meeting with condensed ideas and discussion questions to pose within 2-3 presentation slides. Still, my head is swimming in so many different directions at once since this is a topic that I find very fascinating and exciting…
Here’s the gist of what I (think I) will be discussing:
- Librarianship: Roles and Identities — R. David Lankes’ (2011) The Atlas of New Librarianship: “Importance of Action and Activism“
- Library Neutrality, Professionalism, and Political Activism
- What is library neutrality
- What is professionalism
- History of political activism in LIS professions
- Q: “Should we be activists? Is that our role?” Short A: “Yes.”
- Go back to Lankes (2011) “Importance of Action and Activism”
We’ll be presenting on Tuesday, February 25, 2014. Got comments for me? I’d love to hear it here.