ALA Cognotes January Preview - 4





Are Libraries Neutral? Have They Ever Been? Should They Be?
The question of neutrality in librarianship is an old one. ALA's 1939 Code of
Ethics for Librarians calls for unbiased
"recommendations." This is seen in the ALA
Library Bill of Rights principles that present
the library as content neutral, open and accessible to all. We will explore the following
questions with the aim of challenging our
thinking and practices:
ƒ Were libraries ever neutral?
ƒ Has the time come to question neutrality?
2018 ALA Midwinter
President's Program
Sunday 2/11, 3:30 - 5:30 p.m.
CCC Mile High Ballroom 2&3

tive and two in the negative - followed
by commentary from a reactor panel and a
conversation with attendees, moderated by
ALA President, Jim Neal.
Debate [Affirmative]
Em Claire Knowles
Em Claire Knowles serves as the Assistant Dean for Student and Alumni Affairs
at the Simmons School of Library and
Information Science. She is serving for a
second term as a trustee of the Freedom to
Read Foundation, and as the foundation's
Vice President.

ƒ Are libraries through their practices,
collections, services and technologies
able to be neutral?
ƒ Can libraries be neutral as part of societies and systems that are not neutral?
ƒ Rather than neutral, should we advocate for a distinct set of values?
ƒ How can we do so and maintain trust
in our communities?

James LaRue
James LaRue is the Director of the
ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, and
the Freedom to Read Foundation. Author
of The New Inquisition: Understanding and
Managing Intellectual Freedom Challenges,
LaRue was a public library director for
many years, as well as a weekly newspaper
columnist and cable TV host. He has
written, spoken, and consulted on leadership and organizational development,
community engagement, and the future
of libraries.

A group of ALA members from academic
library, public library, and library education
backgrounds engage the issues. The ALA
President's Program will include a formal
debate - with two speakers in the affirma-

Debate [Negative]
Chris Bourg
Chris Bourg is the Director of Libraries
at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT), where she also has oversight of the

2018 ALA Midwinter President's Program participants.

MIT Press. She has written and spoken extensively on the future of research libraries,
diversity and inclusion in higher education,
and the role libraries play in advancing
social justice and democracy.
R. David Lankes
R. David Lankes is the Director of the
University of South Carolina's School of Library and Information Science, and recipient of the American Library Association's
2016 Ken Haycock Award for Promoting
Librarianship. His book. The Atlas of New
Librarianship, won the 2012 ABC-CLIO/
Greenwood Award for the Best Book in
Library Literature. Lankes is a passionate
advocate for librarians and their essential
role in today's society.

Commentary Panel
Emily Drabinski
Emily Drabinski is the Coordinator of
Library Instruction at Long Island University, Brooklyn, where she also serves as
secretary of the Long Island University Faculty Federation. She also edits Gender and
Sexuality in Information Studies, a book series from Library Juice Press/Litwin Books.

Kathleen de la Pena McCook
Kathleen de la Peña McCook is a distinguished university professor at the School
of Information, University of South Florida
in Tampa. She teaches Public Librarianship,
Wikipedia and Knowledge Management,
» see page 8


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Visit to learn more about this exciting
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ALA Cognotes January Preview

ALA Cognotes January Preview - 1
ALA Cognotes January Preview - 2
ALA Cognotes January Preview - 3
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