I am not your hammer / Council Bandwidth

Update 3/25/2015 – Team Harpy retracts their allegations against Joe Murphy.

On January 29th, I posted a three part message to Twitter:

At the time, I thought maybe a blog post would have been better on this topic and in retrospect that would have been a better thing to do. Because I was alerted that SafeLibraries Dan Kleinman misinterpreted my remarks as supporting his attack on my fellow councilor Al Kagan as an antisemite:

Librarians are not happy with the way Al Kagan seeks to use ALA for his own promotion of antisemitism.  For example:

Notice that even in his quote, I do not mention Al or the specific issue that is leading Council to discuss developments in Israel. My Twitter comments IN NO WAY support the idea that I believe that Al Kagan, the Social Responsibilities Round Table or ALA Council is in any way antisemitic. I do not like being used this way.

I am not asking Mr. Kleinman to take down the Twitter comments he uses as they are part of a public record. But I am publicly saying that I am not his hammer and stating that my tweets were not part of an effort to attack Councilor Kagan.

So what was up with my tweets from yesterday? It’s simple. ALA in general and ALA Council in particular have a limited amount of time and attention bandwidth. There is only so much we can do in three Council sessions. We don’t have a shortage of issues right here at home to address:

– Should our association take a stand on whether it is ok for librarians to file SLAPP suits? (Or if you’re on the other side of the #teamharpy divide, should ALA encourage librarians to fully document claims they make before attacking others in their proffession?)

– The Ferguson Public Library rejected fear. When the local schools and nearly all other public facilities were closed, they were open. They provided comfort, calm and many other resources to a community that felt abandoned by nearly all other institutions? Shouldn’t we commend this sort of courage?

– Copyright/Piracy – new issues have come up and there could potentially be yet another copyright extension prior to 2018. Is there something we ought to say now?

– School libraries – They’re being extinguished almost everywhere. ALA is working on advocacy efforts – but are there examples of communities that support their school librarians? Maybe we can offer tributes to those?

– Sexual harrassment – teamharpy aside, women and people of various gender identifications have had a hard time in tech conferences and there’s some evidence that there are harrassment issues at ALA. Are there things that we could be doing to improve the environment?

– Supporting ALA leadership in our identified strategic areas of Advocacy, Information Policy and Professional & Leadership Development.

– In general, where are the areas of consensus among librarians and are there ways Council could support those areas?

Instead we’re potentially giving a lot of time to discussing divisive issues overseas at a time when I don’t personally feel we’re giving enough attention to what is going on in our back yard. That’s all my tweets were meant to convey.

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