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.


September Slipped Away

September was a cool month. On the 10th I ran a half marathon (2:10:16), was able to get to Monhegan (and introduce the island to some new people), and get to a lot of reading:

  1. Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill
  2. Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng
  3. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
  4. Consul’s Wife by W.T. Tyler
  5. Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry (AB)
  6. Life and Death of Edwin Mullhouse by Steven Millhauser
  7. Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright
  8. Best Game Ever by Mark Bowden
  9. The Trial by Franz Kafka
  10. Which Side Are You On? by Elaine Harger (ER)
  11. Which Side Are You On? by George Ella Lyon (for fun)

AB = Audio book
ER = Early review


Septembering

I’m not exactly sure what September will bring. The renovations for the library are finally finished (with a crazy punch list, I might add). The backyard is complete minus the hot tub, fire pit and patio furniture (that’s stage II). I have a half mara in ten days so I’m anticipating a good run month. Here are the planned books:

  • Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill – to continue the series started in May in honor of Laos Rocket Day
  • Edwin Mullhouse: the life and death of an American Writer – to honor kids in September
  • Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng – Mao died of cancer in September.
  • Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry – Cold War ended in September
  • The Trial by Franz Kafka – September is the best month to visit the Czech Republic.
  • Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner – September is Southern Gospel month
  • Which Side are You On? by Elaine Harger – an Early Review from LibraryThing.