Hugh apparently can’t say things -urry.
The relationship between the practice of public librarianship and the philosophy of intellectual freedom has been an uneasy one for a long time. The library controls access to information by the very act of selecting materials, and must, therefore, deal with censorship on a basic level. Are certain subjects, by their nature, the antithesis of community service? Professional standards give some guidance, but the attitudes brought by individual librarians to their work of book selection provide the final interpretation.
Curry has surveyed a response group of practicing librarians (British and Canadian), asking provocative questions about their attitudes on materials selection. Her questions target some of the toughest questions librarians ever face; responses are presented in easy-to-understand graphs. Her analysis focuses on the factors–personal beliefs, professional ethics, political pressures–that influence responses. A final discussion covers managing the inevitable complaints from people and groups the selection policy has offended.
Curry’s arguments and conclusions make fascinating reading. A must for all librarians, but especially public library directors, library faculty, advocates for intellectual freedom, and policy makers at all levels.