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Fighting the Patriot Act: librarians who won’t keep quiet

It’s the 4th of July holiday here in the States, a quiet day for me because I’ve been working on the next issue of Guanxi and reading a lot about economics. One of the big questions today is how fast China can move up the value chain, away from mere assembly to innovative, high-priced products.The United States is facing a challenging future, on many levels, and publishers and librarians have a considerable opportunity to help students–and adults–get ready. Here’s an interesting overview from the Washington Post, “In China, Dreams of Bright Ideas.”

This is Independence Day, when we celebrate our country’s founding. Ironically, I was reminded of the Patriot Act today, when I came across this article from Library Journal about librarians fighting against its invasive provisions. (I was responding to something on the Good Library Blog and wanted to show just how wonderfully active American librarians have been on this issue.)

JohnBerryFrancineFialkoff.jpgIn the article, John Berry mentions Mason Library in Great Barrington, Mass. This came about–and I didn’t know about it till today–because of a party at the Library Hotel in New York, held by Sage Reference to celebrate the publication of the Encyclopedia of Community, which David and I edited. Quite a few contributors came, and so did the entire masthead (or so it seemed) of LJ. We met John Berry, the editor-in-chief, and mentioned that even our small town librarian was involved in discussions about about the Patriot Act. He asked me to send him clippings from the local papers, and you can see the result.

PartyatLibraryHotel.jpgIt was a lovely party, on a rooftop terrace overlooking the New York Public Library. Joe Tessitore, now heading Collins in the U.S., was there, and that’s the evening I first met Nancy Kranich, past president of the American Library Association, who had written a wonderful blurb for the cover of the encyclopedia. She also led the effort against the Patriot Act. She’s a true patriot, and I think that on the 4th of July we should salute her and other library leaders who have spoken out so clearly about American values.

You’ll be seeing more photos here, now that Griff Wigley has so kindly helped me get set up with a system that makes it much easier to upload them! More about Griff tomorrow–we have connections that are definitely guanxi.

In bloom in Great Barrington: achillea and the first day lilies (but the deer ate almost all the buds on the most beautiful of them!).

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