Which Side Are You On?: Seven Social Responsibility Debates in American Librarianship, 1990-2015

Harger, Elaine. Which Side Are You On? Seven Social Responsibility Debates in American Librarianship, 1990 – 2015. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2016.

Full disclosure: I am a librarian so I read this with some bias. Also, as a librarian I took my time with this one.

Librarians do not view the world as unbiased, politically neutral robots. Some might expect we would or even should. But, we don’t. We find the facts, examine the evidence, chose a side and stick to our guns come hell or high water. It’s what we do. Elaine Harger has identified seven different debates to illustrate the inner workings of the governance of the American Library Association Council:

  1. Debating “the Speaker”
  2. Anti-apartheid boycotts
  3. Censorship
  4. Relationships with outside sponsors/corporations
  5. “”
  6. Privacy
  7. Climate change

Confessional: this book made me:

  • Borrow Which Side Are You On? The story of a song by George Ella Lyon because I leanred of the song from Natalie Merchant.
  • Look up The Speaker on YouTube (Harger includes a link)

Reason read: an Early Review book from LibraryThing.

Author fact: Like Nancy Pearl, Elaine Harger is a Seattle, Washington based librarian.

Book trivia: each chapter is punctuated by a really cool collage created by the author.



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