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David Postman has covered politics and government for The Seattle Times since 1994. He's a frequent guest on radio and television, and previously covered politics for The News Tribune in Tacoma, the Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Public Radio Network. He also writes a column every Friday.

June 23, 2006

Librarians push their call for impeachment

Posted by David Postman at 07:49 AM

In New Orleans Seattle librarians are lobbying delegates at the American Library Association conference in the hopes of getting their call to impeach President Bush adopted as an official ALA policy.

If you read the comments in the post below you can see the debate between those who think this is an important stand for librarians to take and those who wonder what difference it could make and what, if anything, impeachment has to do with libraries.

I asked those questions of Lynn Lorenz, a Seattle librarian and member of the AFSCME local that adopted the resolution.

"Libraries don't exist in a bubble. As stated by the ALA, democracy is the core value of libraries and we're talking about unprecedented and sweeping changes by the Bush administration that, taken as whole, comprise a radical remaking of society, a society that will no longer be a democracy. (snip) Is it radical? It's actually what the majority of people in this country and the world would like to see. So we said it."

But in addition to seeing some special role that librarians play, Lorenz argues that more professionals should do the same.

"I think the political terrrain and the political discourse in this country would be very different if people from all walks of life, all professions, all organizations, were making strong statements that repudiate the political direction being led by the Bush adminstration. Right now, things are way too silent and people are beginning to get used to things they would've never found acceptable just a couple years ago. Those of us who voted in favor of the resolution want this to help break the silence and paralysis that are setting in. It's every citizen's responsibility to not conciliate with the Bush administration's crimes."
  The ALA has 65,000 members worldwide and about 18,000 expected in New Orleans, Larra Clark, the ALA's spokeswoman told me. She said it's not unusual for the ALA to consider political issues at its conferences.

"Our membership is very diverse, so there are many, many kinds of resolutions that are considered; literacy issues to school libraries, destruction of libraries in other countries, issues in the news," she said.

In the past the group has adopted resolutions about propaganda and disinformation related the Iraq war and for changes in the Patriot Act at conferences earlier this year and in 2005.

There's a process the Seattle librarians have to follow to get their resolution debated before the ALA'a governing body. Lorenz, who is not attending the convention, said she thinks they have gotten support from members of the ALA council, which is necessary to get the issue introduced and debated. She said the ALA's Social Responsibilities Round Table is supportive and that other groups will be proposing similar resolutions that she hopes results in "one unified resolution calling for the impeachment or resignation of President Bush."

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