June 21, 2003

STILL MORE CRUSHING OF DISSENT -- and it's dissent about the crushing of dissent!

A cold war has broken out at a librarians' conference in downtown Toronto as accusations fly that pro-Castro elements within the American Library Association are trying to silence debate over Cuba's crackdown on independent libraries.

The battle has laid the groundwork for the improbable scenario of a shouting match among librarians at a meeting tomorrow.

The ALA has "secretly manoeuvered to have only pro-Cuban voices" on a discussion panel, said Robert Kent, a co-founder of the Friends of Cuban Libraries and a librarian with the New York Public Library. "And the extremists within the ALA are going to try to pack the meeting to exclude people who might be critical of the Cuban government."

I blame John Ashcroft.

UPDATE: Here's more.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Librarian-blogger Alan Powell writes: "librarians who profess a foundational commitment to a non-negotiable "Freedom to Read" have no business ignoring the plight of Cubans taking a stand to do the same."