Each December 10 as the world celebrates Human Rights Day, the
anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the world community builds solidarity and a unified vision.
Human rights, the assumption that all human beings deserve certain
rights and dignity by virtue of their human existence, are most
eloquently defined in the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human
“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and
inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation
of freedom, justice and peace in the world. [United Nations. (1948)
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.]
The aim of the Seminar, Librarians and Human Rights, is to
present a historical and cultural analysis of the role of librarians
vis-à-vis human rights as defined by the 1948 Universal Declaration
of Human Rights. The course will highlight the stated goals of the
profession and the work librarians must do to achieve a more equitable
society in the United States and a compassionate nation among
and Resources in LIS | Professional
Organizations | Human
Rights Organizations| Primary
Resources | ALA
Readings and Resources:
Abilock, D. (May/June 2006). "So Close and So Small: Six Promising Approaches to Civic
Education, Equity, and Social Justice." Knowledge Quest v. 34 no. 5:
ALISE Information Ethics Special Interest Group, Position Statement
on Information Ethics in LIS Education
American Library Association Policy Manual: “Article 19 of the
United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights." (Section 58.4.)
American Library Association. Core Values Task Force II Report.
American Library Association. Libraries: An American Value.
Bell, C. J. (2006). "Libraries and Human Rights Education." Catholic Library World v. 77 no. 2: p. 130-138.
Berman, S. (2006). Classism in the Stacks: Libraries and Poverty. 2005 Jean E. Coleman Library Outreach Lecture; American Library
Birdsall, W.F. (Winter 2006-2007). "A Progressive Librarianship for the 21st Century." Progressive Librarian v. 28: p. 49-63
Britz, J. J. (May 2008) “Making the global information society good: A social justice perspective on the ethical dimensions of the global information society.” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology v.59 no. 7, p.1171-1183.
Budd, J.M. (Summer 2006). "Discourse Analysis and the Study of Communication in
LIS." Library Trends v. 55: p. 65-82
Buschman, J. (2003). Dismantling the Public Sphere: Situating and Sustaining
Librarianship in the Age of the New Public Philosophy. Westport,
Conn.: Libraries Unlimited.
Buschman, J., M. Rosenzweig, and E. Hareger. (June 1994). "The Clear Imperative
for Involvement: Librarians Must Address Social Issues." American
Libraries v. 25: p. 575-576.
Chaparro-Univazo, S. (2007). Where Social Justice Meets Librarianship -Truth Commissions as Information Spaces for Work and Activism in International Librarianship. Information for Social Change v. 25, Summer.
Civallero, E. (2007). When Memory Turns into Ashes ... Memoricide During the XX Century. Information for Social Change v. 25, Summer.
Clement, E., and Cullingford, A. (2007). A Library for Peace: the Commonweal Collection. Information for Social Change v. 25, Summer.
Collins, C. (2007). Disseminating Truth to Power - Human Rights, Information and the Internet as Court of Last/Only Resort. Information for Social Change v. 25, Summer.
Forsyth, E. (2005). "Public Libraries and the Millennium Development Goals." IFLA Journal v. 31 no. 4: p. 315-23.
Hauptman, R. (2002). Ethics and Librarianship. Jefferson,
Horton, M., and P. Freire. (1990). We Make the Road by Walking:
Conversations on Education and Social Change. Philadelphia: Temple
Human Rights Video Project. National Video Resources.
IFLA/UNSECO Public Library Manifesto (1994)
Ishay, M. R. (2008). The History of Human Rights
From Ancient Times to the Globalization Era
With a New Preface. 2nd ed. Berkeley: University of California Press. Click here for more information.
Jensen, R. (2004/2005). "The Myth of the Neutral Professional." Progressive Librarian v. 24: p. 28-34.
Jimerson, R. C. (Fall/Winter 2007)
"Archives for All: Professional Responsibility and
Social Justice." The American Archivist v. 70 no. 2: p. 252-81.
Kagan, A. (2008). "An Alternative View on IFLA, Human Rights, and the Social
Responsibility of International Librarianship." IFLA Journal v. 34 no. 3: p. 230-237. The publication of the first book on the development of IFLA´s human
rights involvement provides an opportunity to stimulate discussion
about that history, with particular reference to the Free Access to
Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE) core activity. Several
case studies (South Africa, Turkey, Israel/Palestine, and Cuba) are
evaluated, the work of the IFLA Social Responsibilities Discussion
Group is noted, and suggestions are made for the more democratic and
effective functioning of FAIFE.
Keywords: IFLA; FAIFE; human rights; social responsibility; freedom
Kirkpatrick, A. (2007). Truth and Youth: the First Victims of War - Military Mis-information and the Responsibility of Libraries. Information for Social Change v. 25, Summer.
Knuth, R. (2006). Burning Books and Leveling Libraries: Extremist
Violence and Cultural Destruction. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood.
Kranich, N. (2001). Libraries and Democracy: The
Cornerstones of Liberty. Chicago: American Library Association.
Krashen, S. and Shin, F. (2004). "Summer Reading and the Potential
Contribution of the Public Library in Improving Reading for Children
in Poverty." Public Library Quarterly v. 23: p. 99-109.
Lewis, A. (2008). Questioning Library Neutrality: Essays from Progressive Librarian. Duluth: Library Juice Press.
Librarians for Human Rights. (2008, blog). Click here for more information.
Lowe, M. (2007). Civil Resistance and People Power: a Web Based Bibliography. Information for Social Change v. 25, Summer.
Maddison, Z. V. (2007). Information’s Role in Emerging Democratic Societies: the Case of Indonesia. Information for Social Change v. 25, Summer.
Mahoney, J. (2007). The Challenge of Human Rights: Their Origin, Development, and Significance. Malden, MA; Oxford : Blackwell Publishing.
Maret, S. L.
(Winter 2005-2006). "Formats are
a Tool for the Quest for Truth: HURIDOCS Human Rights Materials for
Library and Human Rights Workers." Progressive Librarian v. 26.
Masters, S. (2007). Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML). Information for Social Change v. 25, Summer.
May, L. (2005) Crimes Against Humanity: A Normative Account. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
(2007). " Librarians as Advocates for the Human Rights of Immigrants. Progressive Librarian v. 29, Summer: p. 51-4
& Phenix, K. J. (2007). (forthcoming). "PublicLibraries
and Human Rights." Public Library Quarterly
(2005). "Social Justice as a Context for a Career in
Librarianship." In Perspectives, Insights and Priorities: 17
Leaders Speak Freely of Librarianship. Lanham, MD:
(2004). "Public Libraries and People in Jail." Reference
and User Services Quarterly v. 43: p. 26-30.
(2004). "The Librarian and Human Rights: Protecting Discourse
against Repression." Catholic Library World v. 74: p. 23-28.
(2004). "Sustaining the Public Sphere in Libraries." Human
(2003). "Suppressing the Commons: Misconstrued Patriotism vs.
a Psychology of Lliberation." Reference and User Services
Quarterly v. 42: p. 14-17.
& Barber, P. (2002). "Public Policy as a Factor
Influencing Adult Lifelong Learning, Adult Literacy and Public
Libraries." Reference and User Services Quarterly
v. 41: p. 66-75.
(2002). "Rocks in the Whirlpool: Equity of Access and the
American Library Association.” Commissioned for the American
Library Association, “Key Action Area: Equity of Access” Web
Ongley, D., & Roy, A. (2002). "Cultural Rresponsiveness,
Tolerance and the Alaska Library Community." Pacific
Northwest Library Quarterly v. 66: p. 16-19.
& Meyer, R. (2001). "Public libraries and comprehensive
community initiatives." Public Libraries v. 40: p. 282-288.
Librarian at the Kitchen Table. Includes mailing list and 2-3
messages a week. Launched 7/8/01. Subscribers as of 1/01/05 :
continued at the blog : http://librarianoutreach.blogspot.com/
& Brand, K. (2001). "Community Iindicators, Genuine
Progress, and the Golden Billion." Reference and User
Services Quarterly v. 40: p. 337-340.
(2001). "Social Justice, Personalism, and the Practice of
Llibrarianship." Catholic Library World v. 72: p. 80-84.
(2001). "Poverty, Democracy and Public Libraries.” In N.
Kranich (Ed.), Libraries & Democracy: The Cornerstones
of Liberty. Chicago: American Library Association Editions,
(2000). "Library Services and Diversity." Library
Trends. (As editor, introduction,
(2000). "Ending the Isolation of Poor People." American
Libraries v. 31: p. 45.
(1998). "Rural Poverty Programs: Library Services to
Farmworkers." In K. M. Venturella (Ed.), Poor People
and Library Services. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland
Mehra, Bharat, and Srinivasan, Ramesh. (2007). "The library-community
convergence framework for community action: Libraries as catalysts of
social change," Libri: International Journal of Libraries and
Information Services v. 55, September: p. 170-188.
Miller, R. & Bardales, A. (2006). "BetterTogether: The Joint
Conference." Library Journal v. 131: 18.
Joint Conference of Librarians of Color as reported in Library
Journal: "At a panel, Kathleen de la Peña McCook (Univ. of South
Florida, Tampa) reflected on a dearth in cross-organization work.
Within ALA, the creation of the various groups-feminist, gay and
lesbian, ethnic, and the Social Responsibilities Round Table-"may have
divided us up too much," she said. Then she argued that librarianship
is human rights work and suggested displays on subjects such as secret
detention and rendition, enforced disappearances, the meaning of
habeas corpus, and more. She and others encouraged the librarians
present to, in McCook's words, "commit to more active involvement in
Montgomery, B. P. (1996). "Archiving Human Rights: A Paradigm
for Collection Development," Journal of Academic
Librarianship v. 22: p. 87-96.
OHCHR. (1996-2007). The International Bill of Human Rights. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Click here for more information.
Phenix, K. J. (2007). "Dignity and Justice for All of Us: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948-2008." Progressive Librarian v. 30, Winter: p. 1-2.
Phenix, K. J., & McCook, K. (2006). A Commitment to Human Rights - Let’s Honor the Qualities Required of a Librarian Dedicated to Human Rights. Information for Social Change v. 25, Summer.
Phenix, K. J., & McCook, K.
(2005). Human Rights and Librarians. Reference and User Services
Quarterly v. 45 no. 1: p. 23-26.
Samek, T.(2007) Librarianship and Human Rights: A Twenty-First Century Guide. (Chandos, 2007).
Samek, T. (2006). "Freedom to Read Week: The Strength of
Librarianship in a Fragile World." Feliciter v. 52 no. 1: p. 18-19.
Samek, T. (2005). "Ethical Reflection on 21st Century Information
Work: An Address to Teachers and Librarians." Progressive Librarian
v. 25: p. 43-61.
Samek, T. (2001). Intellectual Freedom and Social Responsibility
in American Librarianship, 1967 -1974. Chicago: American Library Association.
Samek, T. (1996). The Library Bill of Rights in
the 1960s: One Profession, One Ethic. Library Trends v. 45: p. 50-60.
Samek, T. (2001). "Library Ethics, Rights, and Values: Provocative
Commentary on the Utility of Library Rhetoric." [Canadian Library
Association's Code of Ethics and the ALA Library Bill of Rights].
PNLA Quarterly, v. 65 no. 3: 15-17.
"Tracked in America"
University of Washington. Human Rights Film
United Nations. (1948). Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Professional Organizations Committed to Diversity and
Africana Libraries Newsletter
American Indian Library Association
American Library Association. Office for Diversity.
American Library Association. Office for Literacy and
American Library Association. Social Responsibilities
Asian/ Pacific American Librarians Association
Black Caucus of the American Library Association
Chinese American Librarians Association
Civil Rights Digital Library
Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) of
the American Library Association.
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Round Table (GBLTRT) of the
American Library Association.
The Hunger, Homelessness & Poverty Task Force (HHPTF), a group
within the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT), was formed in
1996 to help promote and implement Policy
61 (Library Services for Poor People) and to raise awareness of
issues related to poverty.
The “Library Services to the Homeless” page provides recommended
resources relating to the following four categories:
*Economic, Legal, and Human Rights Issues
*Selected Readings for Librarians
*Social Exclusions and
In addition, the page links to an archive dating back to March 2005
and offers a list of entries by topic.
Information for Social Change.
International Federation of Library Associations.
Progressive Librarians Guild.
REFORMA: National Association to Promote Library and
Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking:
Union Librarian (blog):
Human Rights Organizations
American Civil Liberties Union
This organization works to
preserve and protect the civil rights delineated in the US
Good Search is a search engine which donates 50-percent of its revenue to the charities and schools designated by its users.
Human and Constitutional Rights
Their website is administered by
the Columbia University Law School Library. It provides a comprehensive
array of links to human rights organizations all over the world.
The Human Rights Institute
Human Rights Watch
An independent organization dedicated to
protecting the human rights of people around the world.
New Tactics in Human Rights
from their page: "The New Tactics in Human Rights Project, led by a diverse group of international organizations, advisors and practitioners, promotes tactical innovation and strategic thinking within the international human rights community."
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNESCO promotes international cooperation in education, science,
culture and communication. The organization is committed to educating
about human rights.
United Nations Office of the High Commisssioner for Human Rights
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) represents the world's commitment to universal ideals of human dignity. The organization has a unique mandate from the international community to promote and protect all human rights.
US Human Rights Network
This Network provides ways for
organizations and individuals working for human rights and social
justice to connect with others working on those issues in the US and in
other countries. A central premise of the organization is that the US
does not provide many of its own residents with the rights it purports
to demand of other countries.
Women's Human Rights-net
An organization dedicated to providing
information and analysis on women's human rights around the world.
Foundational Sources: Human
Key Documents, in Chronological Order
Vedas (ca. 2000-1000 B.C.E.)
Mahony, William K. (1998). The Artful Universe: An
Introduction to the Vedic Religious Imagination. Albany,
NY: State University of New York Press.
Holdrege, Barbara A. (1995). Veda and Torah: Transcending
the Textuality of Scripture. Albany, NY: State University
of New York Press.
Analects of Confucius (ca. 479 B.C.E.-221 B.C.E.)
Confucius. (2005). The Analects of Confucius.
Stilwell, KS: Digireads.com.
The Eight Beatitudes (Appx. AD 30)
from the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus Christ
The Qur’an (ca. 632)
Haleem, M.A.S. Abdel. (2004). The Qur’an: A New
Translation by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem. New York: Oxford
Magna Carta (1215)
Drew, Katherine Fischer. (2004). Magna Carta.
Westport, CN: Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc.
Milton’s Areopagitica (1644)
Milton, John. (2004). Areopagitica. Whitefish, MT:
Kessinger Publishing, LLC.
Locke’s Letter Concerning Tolerance and Second Treatise
of Civil Government (1690)
Locke, John. (2004). A Letter Concerning Toleration.
Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, Inc.
Locke, John. (2003). The Second Treatise on Civil
Government. Wheeling, IL: Harlan Davidson
Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Social Contract
Rousseau, Jean Jacques, et. al. (2006). The Social
Contract. New York: Penguin Group (USA)
Thomas Paine’s The Rights of Man (1791-92)
Paine, Thomas. (2006). The Rights of Man.
Teddington, UK: Echo Library.
The Declaration of Independence (1776)
Library of Congress. (2006). Declaration of Independence:
Primary Documents of American History (Virtual Programs &
Services, Library of Congress).
Abigail Adams, “Remember the Ladies” (1789)
Massachusetts Historical Society. (2006). The
Massachusetts Historical Society | The Adams Family Papers.
France: Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the
Yale Law School. (2005). The Avalon Project: Declaration
of the Rights of Man – 1789.
U.S. Bill of Rights (1789)
Library of Congress.
Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of
Wollstonecraft, Mary. (2001). A Vindication of the Rights
of Women. Madison, WI: Turtleback Books.
Kant’s Perpetual Peace (1797)
Kant, Immanuel. (1996). Perpetual Peace: A Philosophic
Essay. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group,
Robert Owen’s New View of Society (1817)
Owen, Robert. (1991). A New View of Society. Oxford,
England: Woodstock Books.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “Declaration of Sentiments at
Seneca Falls” (1848)
Women's Rights National Historic Park Website.
Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
Thoreau, Henry David. (2002). Civil Disobedience.
New York: Book Surge, LLC.
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859)
Mill, John Stuart. (2004). On Liberty. Whitefish,
MT: Kessinger Publishing, LLC.
Declaration of the Rights of Toiling and Exploited
Bryant, Louise. (1918). “Chapter IX: The Constituent Assembly
– Declaration of the Rights of the Toiling and Exploited
People.” Six Months in Red Russia. New York: George H.
International Labour Organization Constitution (1919)
International Labour Organization. (2006). About the ILO: Who
we are: ILO Constitution.
International Convention for the Suppression of the
Traffic in Women and Children (1921)
International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic
in Women and Children. The American Journal of International
Law, 18(3), Supplement: Official Documents, 130-137.
(1924). [Available through JSTOR]
Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1924) League of Nations
University of Minnesota. Human Rights Library. (n.d.). Geneva
Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1924, adopted
Sept. 26, 1924, League of Nations O.J. Spec. Supp. 21 at 43
Convention to Suppress the Slave Trade and Slavery (1926)
Yale Law School. (1998). The Avalon Project: Convention
to Suppress the Slave Trade and Slavery September 25, 1926.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “Four Freedoms" (1941)
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.
(n.d.). Annual Message to Congress, January 6, 1941, The “Four
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
Adopted and proclaimed by the United Nations on December 10,
"Are There 'Human Rights' in Buddhism?" (1995)
Keown, D. Journal of Buddhist Ethics v. 2.
"Mahayana Buddhism and Human Rights: Focusing on Methods of Interpretation"
ALA Policy 61 (Library Services for
American Library Association promotes equal access to information for
all persons, and recognizes the urgent need to respond to the increasing
number of poor children, adults, and families in America. These people
are affected by a combination of limitations, including illiteracy,
illness, social isolation, homelessness, hunger, and discrimination,
which hamper the effectiveness of traditional library services.
Therefore it is crucial that libraries recognize their role in enabling
poor people to participate fully in a democratic society, by utilizing a
wide variety of available resources and strategies. Concrete programs of
training and development are needed to sensitize and prepare library
staff to identify poor people's needs and deliver relevant services. And
within the American Library Association the coordinating mechanisms of
programs and activities dealing with poor people in various divisions,
offices, and units should be strengthened, and support for low-income
liaison activities should be enhanced.
61.1 Policy Objectives
American Library Association shall implement these objectives by:
- Promoting the removal of all barriers to library and information
services, particularly fees and overdue charges.
- Promoting the publication, production, purchase, and ready
accessibility of print and nonprint materials that honestly address
the issues of poverty and homelessness, that deal with poor people
in a respectful way, and that are of practical use to low-income
- Promoting full, stable, and ongoing funding for existing
legislative programs in support of low-income services and for
pro-active library programs that reach beyond traditional
service-sites to poor children, adults, and families.
- Promoting training opportunities for librarians, in order to
teach effective techniques for generating public funding to upgrade
library services to poor people.
- Promoting the incorporation of low-income programs and services
into regular library budgets in all types of libraries, rather than
the tendency to support these projects solely with "soft money" like
private or federal grants.
- Promoting equity in funding adequate library services for poor
people in terms of materials, facilities, and equipment.
- Promoting supplemental support for library resources for and
about low-income populations by urging local, state, and federal
governments, and the private sector, to provide adequate funding.
- Promoting increased public awareness--through programs,
displays, bibliographies, and publicity--of the importance of
poverty-related library resources and services in all segments of
- Promoting the determination of output measures through the
encouragement of community needs assessments, giving special
emphasis to assessing the needs of low-income people and involving
both anti-poverty advocates and poor people themselves in such
- Promoting direct representation of poor people and anti-poverty
advocates through appointment to local boards and creation of local
advisory committees on service to low-income people, such
appointments to include library-paid transportation and stipends.
- Promoting training to sensitize library staff to issues
affecting poor people and to attitudinal and other barriers that
hinder poor people's use of libraries.
- Promoting networking and cooperation between libraries and other
agencies, organizations, and advocacy groups in order to develop
programs and services that effectively reach poor people.
- Promoting the implementation of an expanded federal low-income
housing program, national health insurance, full-employment policy,
living minimum wage and welfare payments, affordable day care, and
programs likely to reduce, if not eliminate, poverty itself.
- Promoting among library staff the collection of food and
clothing donations, volunteering personal time to anti-poverty
activities and contributing money to direct-aid organizations.
- Promoting related efforts concerning minorities and women, since
these groups are disproportionately represented among poor people.
ALA Task Force Member Survey on Policy 61
The Hunger, Homelessness & Poverty Task Force, in partnership with
the OLOS Subcommittee on Library Services to Poor and Homeless
People, reported the findings from the ALA Task Force Member Survey
on Policy 61 at the June 2008 ALA Conference. Click here for more information.