June 06, 2004

The National Lobotomy

Has everyone forgotten that Ronald Reagan was the president who ignored AIDS throughout most of his administration? I am listen to encomium after encomium in disbelief. He's being remembered as charming, fatherly, courtly, and good-humored. Even BBC World News reporters gushed that "everyone" in America would be mourning Reagan.

Some of us are still mourning the many people who needlessly suffered agonizing deaths while Reagan pushed his anti-government, socially conservative agenda.

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April 07, 2004

Letter to ALA from OLOS on Gay and Lesbian Rights

The following eloquent letter to ALA comes from the Office of Literacy and Outreach Services (also by way of the Council list):


To: Mr. Fiels, Ms. Hayden, Ms. Brey, Ms. Grady, and Ms. Sheketoff:

The Advisory Committee of the Office for Literacy and Outreach Services urges ALA and ALA-APA to take a public stand against discriminatory philosophy and treatment of gay and lesbian employees. We believe that such policies are in opposition to not just one but various of ALA's priorities and principals. It goes against Equity, Diversity, and Intellectual Freedom.

The proposed new interpretation by the new Federal Special Counsel would have a deleterious effect on federal gay and lesbian librarians and library workers, but if implemented its effects would go even beyond that. It would result in a rollback of their rights. It would also encourage further discrimination in other aspects of life towards glbt individuals and groups.

As we have seen repeatedly in the history of this county, legal decisions that make distinctions to discriminate often give elements in the general public a license to not only discriminate, but sometimes even to carry out acts of violence. Perhaps the most extreme and powerful example of this is the Plessy versus Ferguson Supreme Court decision that established the "absurd" separate but equal doctrine. History has shown that the epidemic lynchings that occurred in the decades following this decision were not coincidental. Likewise, legislation that sets up English as the official language has too often resulted in employees and citizens being discriminated for their use of languages other than English. So too are legal decisions that allow for unfavorable treatment of gay and lesbian people in one arena, likely to foster widespread mistreatment in many other arenas.

ALA has a duty to enter into the public debates on these issues and to advocate for greater freedoms for the publics that we serve and the employees who are our members, so that there is true equity and outreach on the part of the American Library Association.

Isabel Espinal
Chair of the Advisory Committee of the Office for Literacy and Outreach Services

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February 29, 2004

Frank Rich Hits One Out of the Park

"Marriage, whatever the word's separate meaning as a spiritual or religious rite, will remain a pressing constitutional issue in a country founded on equality. If marriage laws were set in stone, after all, same-race marriage would still be the only legal kind." Frank Rich, 2/29/04

Frank Rich--drama critic, political columnist, arts writer, and novelist--may well be my favorite writer; many's the time when I have put off reading his latest column in the Times because I didn't want the experience to be over just yet. (And wait for another discussion from me about how Readers' Advisory needs to grow up past fiction.)

Today Rich completely overwhelms the competition with his discussion of gay marriage.

This more than makes up for the news, shared by Sarah "Librarian in Black" Houghton, that Orscon Scott Card is a flaming homophobe. I would find this much more distressing if I found Card remotely readable. (If life is so short, why do his books seem so long?)

Thank you, Mr. Rich! We'll think of you on our wedding day this Friday.

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February 25, 2004

Newsom to hold LGBT Town Meeting, Saturday 2/28/04

From the Human Rights Campaign: "Mayor Newsom is ... having an LGBT Town Hall meeting this Saturday, February 28th. It is being held in the auditorium of James Lick Middle School, 1220 Noe, San Francisco from 11 am to 1 pm. He would very much like as large an attendance as possible."

Other resources from HRC to support gay marriage are at:


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