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Questioning Library Neutrality: Essays from Progressive Librarian
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Questioning Library Neutrality: Essays from Progressive Librarian

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  47 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Questioning Library Neutrality: Essays from Progressive Librarian presents essays that relate to neutrality in librarianship in a philosophical or practical sense, and sometimes both. They are a selection of essays originally published in Progressive Librarian, the journal of the Progressive Librarians Guild, presented in the chronological order of their appearance there. ...more
Paperback, 156 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Library Juice Press
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Feb 05, 2009 Amanda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Amy
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Good and scholarly. Questions I like to read about but can't necessarily articulate the importance of when I am done. Though I feel the importance in every ounce of my bod. Various essays about people who question the idea the professional is neutral, claiming nothing is neutral. Normal? is a choice. Racist is a choice. Anti-racist is a choice. Awakening the profession to theory instead of technology. Trying to understand and progress the systems of organizing information. All of these things. A ...more
This collection of essays, while an interesting look at challenging the concept of neutrality in libraries, is very one-sided and does not allow for even the possibility that neutrality is actually a good thing when it comes to libraries and archives.
Culling from the pages of Progressive Librarian journal, this collection of articles are united in their stance against library neutrality, a particular take on academic objectivity which holds that libraries should be agnostic towards the social value of library material in the selection process. Librarians generally hold to the notion that by remaining "objective" in the selection process, they are giving equal voice to all parties. What these Progressive Librarian's Guild members argue is tha ...more
An uneven collection of essays about the role of librarians in social justice, whether it be making statements as librarians that go beyond libraries or how social justice and librarianship directly intersect.

Two key points I took away from this:

* The book publishing and distribution industry is driven by commercial interests. This has a narrowing effect on what is available for reasons other than writing quality or audience interest. It's inconvenient to work around this by purchasing things fr
Just finished reading this a second time... this book is a lifesaver for librarians committed to social justice and wrestling with perceived professional ideals... the chilly whiteness of past libraries.

I skipped through this at a library...and found it a bit dry. Who would've thunk?
Pretty much argues that there is no such thing as a neutral librarian. I'll say hahaha and it's true they might possibly be pro-censorship in some cases.
Like the bit about libraries not purchasing little press titles and so they aren't recorded on databases. I'll be spending the rest of my shift making book suggestions from small publishers bahahaha.
I got paid in apples today to type something up in word
So far this is the best of the essays about LIS collections I've read. I was particularly inspired by Andersen's "Information Criticism: Where is it?" and "Towards Self-Reflection in Librarianship: what is Praxis?" (oops forgot the author's name). Maybe I liked this one because it jives with my personal belief that neutrality/ objectivity is impossible and we need to own up to that and explore it. If it were up to me, I would add Mark Rosenzweig's "Aspects of a Humanist Approach to Librarianship ...more
Are librarians really neutral (services, programming, collection development) or is that just a myth? Here's a book that argues excellently that it's the latter and that using neutrality as an argument for the services we provide really supports the status quo. Libraries should be better than that!
I learned a lot from this book. See my full review of it over at my blog here.
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