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Libraries and Democracy: The Cornerstones of Liberty
Nancy Kranich (Editor)
Item Number: 978-0-8389-0808-2
Publisher: ALA Editions
Price: $43.00
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223 pages
6" x 9"
ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-0808-2
Year Published: 2001
During World War II when the future of democracy was uncertain, Franklin D. Roosevelt described libraries as "the great symbols of the freedom of the mind," "essential to the functioning of a democratic society." Kranich begins this new collection of essays with Roosevelt's sentiment in mind. From Librarian of Congress, James Billington, to founding director of the Center for the Book, John Cole, the leading-edge information specialists of the day share their insights on the role libraries play in advancing democracy.

One of the few institutions in the world where people have free access to information and thereby the opportunity to participate in all aspects of society, the American library truly is a symbol of democracy. In this work, prominent contributors from all sides of the profession (including a community outreach activist on libraries in impoverished communities and an information policy scholar whose research for the FCC led to official recognition of the digital divide) tackle hot button issues. Thoughtful essays on how the Internet influences the political process, such as Susan B. Kretchmer's analysis of recent court decisions and director of George Washington University's award-winning National Security Archive, Thomas Blanton's discussion on information ethics ("From the White House E-mail to the Stasi Files"), shed light on how theoretical concepts have practical implications.

As issues such as filtering and copyright protection take center stage in libraries everywhere, librarians, advocates, and policymakers alike can find answers to tough questions in this thorough examination of a complex and critical theme.


I. Historic and Theorectical Overview of the Role of Libraries and Democracy

II. Libraries and Civil Society

III. Libraries, Technology, Democracy

IV. Libraries Supporting Democratic Information Policy

V. The Library of Congress and Democracy

VI. Library Advocacy for Democracy


About the Author
A tireless advocate for individual rights to information and 2000-2001 President of the American Library Association, Nancy Kranich has spearheaded ALA's freedom of information initiatives, launched the Association's first advocacy training program, and established the James Madison Awards honoring champions of the Public's Right to Know. Currently on leave from her position as Associate Dean of Libraries at New York University, she has worked closely with Congressional and Executive officials on information policy issues and has testified at Congressional hearings. A widely published author, Kranich serves as an Advisory Board member and Treasurer for the National Security Archive in Washington and on the Advisory Board for the Annenberg Public Policy Center Project on Children and the Media. Kranich earned a master's degree in Public Administration from New York University's Wagner School of Public Service, and a master's degree in library science from the University of Wisconsin.
“This small volume demands the attention of all librarians, trustees, and library educators. A genuine effort should be made to get copies into the hands of politicians and others who may have the power to affect the future of libraries but not much understanding of their importance to democracy.”
—Library Journal

“...contains excellent pieces and is well worth acquiring by both public and academic libraries...”
—Australian Library Journal

“This work is highly recommended for libraries, as well as organizations and agencies involved in information policy and information delivery. The essays are cogent and will likely form the basis of many discussions.”
—American Reference Books Annual

“...belongs in every professional collection and every library science collection on our college and university campuses.”
—Public Library Quarterly

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