Tag Archives: activism

ALA Asks Members to Oppose CISPA

The American Library Association’s Washington Office has asked members (and any librarians not yet members) to reach out to their U.S. Representatives to oppose the latest cybersecurity bill.

We did a great job knocking down SOPA & PIPA, and now it’s time to speak out against CISPA before it goes for a vote in the House of Representatives. From District Dispatch:

ALA is concerned that essentially all private electronic communications could be obtained by the government and used for many purposes – and not just for cybersecurity activities. H.R. 3523 would permit, even require ISPs and other entities to monitor all electronic communications and share personal information with the government without effective oversight just by claiming the sharing is for “cybersecurity purposes.”

For more information including links to find your Representative’s phone number and Twitter handle, plus talking points, check out ALA’s piece written yesterday.

(District Dispatch via The Digital Shift)

It’s Not Over

Although SOPA and PIPA were shelved last week, the issues that these bills bring up are not over. We still need to continue to work to preserve an open Internet. Until the dawn of the web, sharing was always recognized as a legal practice. The Internet has made a business of limitless producing, consuming, sharing, and remixing — something that now defines our everyday lives. These videos help explain the root of the issues and their history dating back to when media companies reacted to VHS and cassette tapes.

(via New Left Media)

(via TED)

Friday’s Hot Links: FREEDOM!

Around here we’ve been talking a lot about SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), but how can you support it and your favorite websites? Protest SOPA and support Wikipedia in the internet black out and by contacting your congress-person.

Just want to free yourself from the bonds of the infinite internet? Try Freedom, an app made for Macs and PCs to “lock” yourself out of the internet up to 8 hours.


SOPA: The Internet Job Killer

I have yet to meet a librarian who supports the Stop Online Piracy Act for its ideology. We spend our days encouraging the free flow of information and knowledge sharing, both between our institutions and users as well as between users. Uncensored user-generated content is what makes the Internet sing, and the last decade has seen a communications phenomenon flourish and support revolutions, disaster response and relief, and the arts. What if one user links to a site with pirated content and the entire website was shut down?

What we are losing is not only freedom of information & speech, but businesses and therefore jobs. Librarians are growing in the tech industry, finding their ways in social media, web design and startups. The destruction of an entire industry is as disastrous for its workers as it is for its consumers. Part of We Are Librarians’ mission is to promote information professionals in this industry, for its innovation, increased opportunities and not to mention, income. This post is not about money, however; it’s about our futures. Let’s act now, friends.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Sign the petition currently hosted on whitehouse.gov’s We the People platform. The President has been quiet on this issue so far.
  • Continue to call and email Congress, censor your website and use the #censorshipeverywhere tool — all available from americancensorship.org.
  • Watch this video if you’re short on time:

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

We’ll add to this list on an ongoing basis.

Thankful for the Internet

This Thanksgiving, We Are Librarians is thankful for the Internet. So is Edward J. Black, President and CEO of the Computer and Communications Industry Association. Read his recent article, “Grateful for the Internet and Those Saving It” that touches on many hot topics including the Stop Online Piracy Act.

Check out the CCIA Library, which stores abstracts, Op Eds, legal briefs, and white papers that support their mission.


Save the Internet

Intellectual freedom is the one of the core values of librarianship. It was fundamental in the days of printed books and manuscripts and it is absolutely crucial in today’s world of blogs, ipads, Google, and an open and free Internet. The battle against censorship has never deserved more dedication and energy than in our fight to Save the Internet. Everyday, the Internet as we know it is under threat by companies and service providers who want to control the way we communicate and the content we access.

Currently, the Federal Communications Commission’s Net Neutrality regulations protect our right to comment, post, read, listen, watch, write, upload, embed, stream, download, and link to the content we want — when we want it.

Last week on November 9th, Net Neutrality was once again under attack and a debate took place at the U.S. Senate where Senators John Kerry, Al Franken, and Maria Cantwell  supported Internet freedom and Net Neutrality.

(via  )

Fortunately, the voices of the American people were heard. The Senate voted to uphold Net Neutrality. However, we need to continue to take action in order to preserve the everyday freedom that we know and love today. Without Net Neutrality, we will be stifling the imagination and innovation that fuels the Internet and our culture as a whole.





The Atlas of New Librarianship

Atlas Intro Head Shot from R. David Lankes on Vimeo.

David Lankes’  book and companion website The Atlas of New Librarianship explores the future of librarians beyond of the scope of traditional libraries and books. He argues that we need more than a connection with technology in order to thrive. While he advocates the importance of technical skills, for Lankes, conversation is the essential key that unlocks our ability to connect with our community, teach, share knowledge, and provide access.

How do we start a conversation with the public about what librarianship means to them? How do we translate our core values and change the way others perceive us? 21st century librarians are dealing with a global shift not only within the field, but in our daily lives. The identity crisis that we are coping with can only be resolved by proactively communicating outside the library community. We must market ourselves to a new audience that does not expect to find a librarian outside of a library.

Find a copy of the book at MIT Press.




Killing Librarianship

Last week David Lankes delivered the keynote speech entitled “Killing Librarianship”  at the 2011 New England Library Association Annual Conference in Burlington, VT.

Abstract: What might kill our profession is not ebooks, Amazon or Google, but a lack of imagination. We must envision a bright future for librarians and the communities they serve, then fight to make that vision a reality. We need a new activist librarianship focused on solving the grand challenges of our communities. Without action we will kill librarianship.

Slides: http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/Presentations/2011/NELA.pdf 

Audio: http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/pod/2011/NELA.mp3

David Lankes’ website: http://www.DavidLankes.org

Advocating for Librarians

The September 2011 issue of Information Outlook focuses on advocating for librarians. This is a topic that inspires We Are Librarians  in our pursuit to change the way people think of librarianship in the 21st century. Two articles in this issue highlight what We Are Librarians aim to communicate. They cover both the micro and macro approach to librarian advocacy.

Stephen Abram’s “Advocating for Yourself” recommends steps and tactics for promoting your individual worth and creating a consistent brand. This is something that every professional must consider in a time of fierce competition within the job market.

James Matarazzo and Toby Pearlstein’s “Continuous Advocacy Creates Opportunities for Survival” discusses upholding the core competencies of librarianship while contributing to your organization or company as a whole. We must promote ourselves and the field consistently in order to create more opportunities for all.

It is not only physical libraries that are in need of support, but the librarians and staff that give life and passion to the field. How can we change the image of librarians in the public eye? We Are Librarians‘ goal is to promote the work and lives of current librarians as well as the new generation of information professionals graduating with their MLIS. With this goal, our hope is that a new image and visibility to the field will develop.



Matarazzo, J., Pearlstein, T. 2011. Continuous Advocacy Creates Opportunities for Survival. Information Outlook. 15(6): 16-19. 

Abram, S. 2011. Advocating for Yourself.  Information Outlook. 15(6): 34.