If government-ordered book burning is OK with you, you need read no further. Have a nice day.
If, however, ALA's refusal to post such news on its "Book Burning in the 21st Century" web site concerns or at least puzzles you, then I ask for your help in restoring the integrity of ALA.
Cuban courts in April 2003 ordered the incineration or destruction of the entire holdings â€“ thousands of items â€“ held in six independent libraries. You can read the documentation for yourself as follows, as the Rule of Law and Cuba web site of the Florida State University, by using the following key words:
http://www.ruleoflawandcuba.fsu.edu/documents-matanzas-9e.cfm. Search for "incineration."
http://www.ruleoflawandcuba.fsu.edu/documents-santiago-6e.cfm. Search for "incineration."
http://www.ruleoflawandcuba.fsu.edu/documents-sancti-spiritus-4e.cfm . Search for "destruction."
http://www.ruleoflawandcuba.fsu.edu/documents-matanzas-2e.cfm . Search for "incineration."
http://www.ruleoflawandcuba.fsu.edu/documents-havana-10e.cfm. Search for "destruction."
http://www.ruleoflawandcuba.fsu.edu/documents-ciegodeavila-2e.cfm . Search for "destruction."
After 18 months of repeated requests to post news of this crime against intellectual freedom on its web site devoted to "Book Burning in the 21st Century" ( http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedbooksweek/bookburning/21stcentury/21stcentury.htm)
ALA has yet to do so. We have supplied a paragraph for posting, complete with links to the court documents (see final page of attachment), but Don Wood of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom continues to say that he needs verification of the book burning from a major news source (despite posting news on his web page from small local newspapers). We have sought this coverage, but there is understandably little interest in "news" that is now nearly four years old!
Reputable and objective verification does exist in the total of 151 direct references to Cuba's sentencing documents in the comprehensive reports published by Amnesty International ( http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR250172003?open&of=ENG-CUB)
and the Organization of American States ( http://www.cidh.org/annualrep/2006eng/CUBA.12476eng.htm ). The details are in the attachment.
This issue is important to the reputation of our profession and the integrity of our Association. Reasonable people can differ about the legitimacy of Cuban laws allegedly violated by persons operating independent libraries and accepting information materials from the US Interests Section in Havana, but if government-ordered burning of thousands of "subversive" books is not worthy of mention, then our professional association has indeed turned a new ethical corner.
I urge you to send a letter, preferably a letter on your letterhead and in your own words, asking ALA President Leslie Burger why, given reputable and objective documentation at the international level, the Office for Intellectual Freedom refuses to post news of the book burning in Cuba. Even a quick e-mail will help.
Please send the letter SOON â€“ preferably no later than January 11, to be sure that she gets it before leaving for ALA MidWinter in Seattle.
The ALA President's address is:
Leslie Burger, ALA President
Princeton Public Library
65 Witherspoon Street
Princeton, NJ 08542
609-924-8822 ext. 253
AND please send a copy of your letter to the editorial page editor of the Seattle Post Intelligencer or the same officer at The Seattle Times, in the hope that they also may pose the same question during the ALA MidWinter conference:
Editorial Page Editor
101 Elliott Ave. W.
Seattle, WA 98119
James F. Vesely
Editorial Page Editor
The Seattle Times
P.O. Box 70
Seattle, WA 98111
Steve Marquardt, Ph.D.
9383 123rd Avenue SE
Lake Lillian, MN 56253
Dean of Libraries Emeritus, South Dakota State University
Amnesty International USA Legislative Coordinator for Minnesota