The other day I mentioned Fausta’s appeal concerning the egregious behavior of the Princeton Public Library and the American Library Association. She has now posted The Princeton Human Rights Film Festival, Part 2:
In yesterday’s podcast with Captain Ed I mentioned how ironic it is to have pro-Castro propaganda films shown at the Princeton Public Library — which is headed by the head of the American Library Association — on the same week that Gustavo Colas Castillo, the Deputy Director of Independent Libraries of Cuba, has been arrested.
…The same people who praise Castro’s medics as “doctors” and play movies in their favor are the same people who refuse to support people who risk their lives by distributing books in Cuba.
She also quotes Nat Hentoff on the topic of the ALA:
The American Library Association — the largest organization of librarians in the world — continually declares that it fights for everyone’s “Freedom to Read!” and its Library Bill of Rights requires its members to “challenge censorship.” Yet the leadership of the ALA — not the rank and file — insistently refuses to call for the immediate release of the independent librarians in Cuba — designated as “prisoners of conscience” by Amnesty International. They are serving very long prison terms because they do believe in the freedom to read — especially in a dictatorship.
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However, the top officials of the American Library Association — as well as the majority of its Governing Council — speak derisively of these “so-called librarians” in Castro’s gulags.
It’s true that these prisoners, many brutalized and in failing health, in their cells, don’t have master’s degrees in Library Science; but as poet-novelist-educator Andrei Codrescu told last year’s ALA Midwinter Conference: “These people have been imprisoned for BEING librarians!” Why dismiss them “as ‘so-called librarians’ when clearly there is no one (in that dictatorship) to certify them.”
So bizarre is the ALA leadership, along with a cadre of Castro admirers on the Governing Council — in its abandonment of their fellow librarians — it refuses to post on its “Book Burning in the 21st Century” Web site the extensive, documented court transcripts of the “trials” that sent the librarians to prison. Those judges ordered the “incineration” of the prisoners’ libraries, including works by Martin Luther King Jr. and George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”