Posted July 8, 2015 8:53 AM by

Libraries need focus more than change —relevance is in their existence not their activism…

 

(CUSA) – Desperate for relevance libraries embrace every clichéd political and cultural fad that comes along. Their real value, however, is in their existence as places of refuge from distraction.

 

They also have value for children but that is also diminishing. —Ed.

 

STEPHANIE COHEN—

Last week the American Library Association, the world’s oldest library organization, held its annual meeting in California. The theme of the meeting? “Transforming our Libraries. Ourselves.”

 

Reminiscent of the 1970s feminist bible Our Bodies, Ourselves, it was not surprising that the association chose as its keynote speaker feminist Gloria Steinem.

 

Steinem addressed patriarchal power and the misguided study of Christopher Columbus, as well as identifying the roots of “nongender” in Native American languages. She declared the ALA meeting to be post-racist, post-monotheist, and post-nationalist. Another featured speaker focused on marriage equality.

 

These speeches highlight the problem libraries face in an age of funding crunches: Too little focus, too much activism. Or, as Sari Feldman, the newly appointed president of the ALA, announced at the conference, the first goal of libraries today “is to increase awareness about how different libraries are today.” Should this be their goal?…

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Read more: Acculturated

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