Copy to: King George

Fourth of July again: a day for barbeques, lemonade and speeches. I’ll keep this one short so that you can get back to your recliner.If the racket on the local listservs is any indication, it is becoming clear to some of our friends and colleagues exactly what this CIPA decision means; it is not simply a directive to resolve a difficulty over a legal issue. Know the thing for what it is.

Coming on the heels of the Patriot Act, it is another incursion into the right of individuals to use and obtain information; this alone would make it anathema to the librarian, but there is more: in a time when government is letting libraries wither, languish and starve, it is an insulting attempt to manage the operations of libraries which otherwise would have been left to limp along, respected in word and abandoned in deed. We have gone from the pan to the fire: perhaps the heat will waken us to our role and responsibility.

‘Ye shall know them by their works.’ That applies as much to librarians as to those who would shackle us. I am one of the new generation encouraged to become librarians by the opportunity and at the invitation of the old breed. We look for signs from you, especially in this most serious matter, as we stand on this cusp which might be a brink; we are concerned about many things: certainly we want to work in this profession; naturally we want to rise, but we also wonder if there will be a profession waiting for us, and not merely in the sense of jobs, but by way of its having passed into a mechanical operation, robbed of discretion, the grace and glory of service through an unwise obedience to dictates which go against the grain of its principles.

We wait and watch and wonder; we hope for signs and the rise of leaders.

Michael McGrorty

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