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AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION (ALA) Printer Friendly Page

The ALA Library: Terrorist Sanctuary
By Paul Walfield
May 8, 2003

The American Library Association’s Stealth Jihad against Free Speech
By William J. Becker, Jr
October 9, 2009

Perversion 101: Kids Taught 'Gay' Sex, Rape, Bestiality
By Chelsea Schilling
October 5, 2009

Amer. Library Assn. 'Trumps Up' Book-banning
By Charlie Butts
October 1, 2009

The American Library Association On the Side of Terror
By Robert Spencer
August 10, 2009

Library Association Abandons Principle, Allows Censorship
By Steven Emerson
July 21, 2009

One-Way Free Speech
By Janet Levy
July 20, 2009

Who's the Library Bully?
By Brent Bozell
September 19, 2008

Librarians Against Censorship?
By Brent Bozell III
May 9, 2008

Banning Tango
By Robert H. Knight
October 11, 2007

American Library Association Shamed
By Nat Hentoff
March 5, 2007

Laura Vs. Unhinged Librarians
By Michelle Malkin
June 20, 2006

American Library Association to Sever Ties with Scouts?
By Walter Skold
April 22, 2006

Librarians Against the Patriot Act
By Michael Tremoglie
February 27, 2006

Madame Librarian: Defending Terrorists' Privacy While Ignoring Real Repression
By The Wall Street Journal
February 10, 2006

Castro's Library Pass, (Part IV)
By Walter Skold
October 17, 2005

Castro's Library Pass (Part III)
By Walter Skold
October 14, 2005

Castro's Library Pass (Part II)
By Walter Skold
October 13, 2005

Castro's Library Pass (Part I)
By Walter Skold
October 12, 2005

The Loneliness of a Conservative Librarian
By David Durant
September 30, 2005

Librarians for Terror
By Lee Kaplan
August 24, 2004

Librarians Covering for Castro
By Nat Hentoff
January 28, 2004

Librarians Ignore Plea of Cuban Prisoners
By Art Moore
January 15, 2004

Ashcroft Rips Anti-Patriot Act "Hysteria"
By Associated Press
September 16, 2003

Straight Talk on Homeland Security
By Heather MacDonald
August 11, 2003

Cuba’s Jailed Librarians
By Mary Anastasia O’Grady
June 23, 2003

Librarians vs. Ashcroft
By Mike Martin
June 19, 2003

Report on Cuban Issue
By The American Library Association
January 15, 2001

 


Click here to view a sample Profile.

50 E. Huron
Chicago, IL
60611


Phone :(800) 545-2433
Email :
membership@ala.org
URL: Website
American Library Association (ALA)'s Visual Map


  • Opposes the Patriot Act
  • Characterizes anti-terrorism measures as assaults on civil liberties
  • Is pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel



Founded in 1876 in Philadelphia and chartered three years later in Massachusetts, the American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 64,000 members. Its mission is "to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all."

In recent years, the ALA has been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration's War on Terror and, most particularly, Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. Section 215 reworks Title V of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, and states that if the FBI believes a library's computers are being used by terrorists to plan or carry out their activities, the Bureau may make an application to a judge who can grant an order for the production of a suspected patron's records. ALA members condemn Section 215, vowing that they will not break the "sacred" trust that exists between a patron and a librarian. 

Following ALA policy, more than 225 libraries across the United States have chosen to defy the mandates of Section 215. For instance, the Santa Cruz, California library has chosen to shred all records of its patrons' book use on a daily basis. Anne M. Turner, Director of that city's library system, explained, "The basic strategy now is to keep as little historical information as possible."

In January 2003 the ALA passed a resolution calling Section 215 “a present danger to the constitutional rights and privacy rights of library users.” The organization's website featured a prominent display of lawsuits filed against the federal government in an effort to thwart the implementation of the Patriot Act. In a link titled "FBI in Your Library," the ALA website described a scenario where "A couple of suited thugs take the library patron away." The website also provided a link to a Village Voice article titled "Things we lost in the fire," depicting America's alleged transformation into a fascist state. "Looking for terrorists in a public library is just part of an overall strategy to diminish the civil liberties of American citizens," said ALA President Mitch (Maurice) Freedman.

The ALA has a long history of objecting to government interference or scrutiny. In 1953, at the height of the Cold War, the organization issued its "Freedom to Read" statement, resisting federal calls to loyalty. In 1984 the ALA passed a resolution condemning the United States for withdrawing from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO. (That withdrawal had been made to protest UNESCO's growing politicization; anti-Western bias; budgetary mismanagement; anti-free market policies; and advocacy of a “new world information order” through which the organization sought to institute the licensing of journalists and increased government control over the media.)

In 1998 the ALA's Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) voiced its opposition to the U.S. bombing of Iraq. The self-proclaimed "conscience of the ALA," the SRRT believes that "libraries and librarians must recognize and help solve social problems and inequities in order to carry out their mandate to work for the common good and bolster democracy."

In June 2002 the ALA, under the auspices of its SRRT section, condemned Israel for its alleged oppression of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. The ALA demanded that the United States and other nations do all they could to "prevent further destruction of libraries and cultural resources" in Palestinian territories by Israel. When confronted with the fact that any destruction at the time had taken place during a war (the Palestinian Intifada against Israel), ALA President Mitch Freedman responded: "ALA policy does not differentiate between deliberate or unintentional destruction. Whether it is intentional or unintentional, justified or unjustified, the destruction of libraries, library collections, and property [is deplored by the ALA]."

At a January 2003 ALA meeting in Philadelphia, Freedman screened a documentary about the bitterly anti-American, anti-Israel professor Noam Chomsky, and a videotaped speech by Amy Goodman, the host of the Democracy Now! radio program.

Two months later, the ALA argued before the U.S. Supreme Court that the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) -- which states that libraries should filter Internet access to eliminate "visual depictions that are obscene, contain child pornography or are harmful to minors" --  was an infringement on freedom of expression. The ALA spent more than $1.7 million on court battles to fight the implementation of CIPA. 

In 2003, when news outlets reported that Iraqi libraries had been vandalized and looted during the conflict, the ALA website blamed the United States. 

The ALA website features a section titled "Alternative Resources on the U.S. 'War Against Terrorism," which contains links to Antiwar.com, MichaelMoore.com, StopTheWar.com, War Resisters League, and a series of petitions opposing America's War on Terrorism. The SRRT portion of the ALA website directs readers to links that explore "Cuban Library Tours and Conferences" where they can "find out for [themselves] the real Cuba." There are also links to the "Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgendered Round Table," and to numerous websites beginning with the word "progressive."

The ALA was a signatory to a March 17, 2003 letter exhorting members of the U.S. Congress to oppose Patriot Act II  on grounds that it "would severely dilute, if not undermine, many basic constitutional rights." In addition, the ALA has given its organizational endorsement to the Community Resolution to Protect Civil Liberties campaign, which tries to influence city councils to pass resolutions of noncompliance with the Patriot Act.

The ALA is a member organization of the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE), a coalition of groups that believe the American workplace is rife with sexism and discrimination against women. 

The ALA has received funding from: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Verizon Foundation, among others.

 

 

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