This morning I had my invisible bee-keeper’s hat on while looking in the Villagers’ honeycomb at the other place. They adore their neoliberal heroines, Joy Ann Reid, Nanci Pelosi, and of course,
former Queen Bee Clinton herself. Once in awhile, the baroness does something that hits the right notes of the middle class professionals (and to a certain extent, working class); in this instance, it was an address to conference attendees of American Library Association yesterday morning in Chicago. The Villagers posted a tweet to the CNN recording of Clinton’s speech, but as the speech was worth $125,000 pd by Simon & Schuster nearly 30 minutes long, I’m providing some summary reporting. From American Libraries:
An estimated 3,200 conference goers arrived well before the 10 a.m. Closing General Session at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference and Exhibition on Tuesday to hear the former First Lady and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee speak.
When Clinton stepped out to a standing ovation, she said that she told ALA President Julie B. Todaro backstage that the term “madame president is still one of my favorites.”
Clinton touched on topics ranging from fake news to resilience to literacy and reading to censorship. And hiking. “After this election, one of the things that helped me most—aside from long walks in the woods and the occasional glass of chardonnay—was once again going back to the familiar experience of losing myself in books,” she said.
In my view, Clinton touched upon the right themes regarding libraries being in the vanguard of democracy; advocates for intellectual freedom (which entail reading, listening/video materials of different points of view); providing support to education with access to bandwith in rural areas where there is still a digital divide; helping people discern between fake news and relevant sources of facts & statistics, and of course, supplying research about information seeking behaviors as well as which programs work. Clinton noted that the current Administration’s skinny budget would eliminate funding for libraries and museum grants for research and initiatives. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is an agency that was created during Bill Clinton’s presidency in 1996. From the IMLS statement about the proposed FY2018 Budget:
Since its inception 20 years ago, the Institute of Museum and Library Services has provided critical support enabling museums and libraries across the country to make a tremendous difference in their communities. The institutions we serve provide vital resources that contribute significantly to Americans’ economic development, education, health, and well-being whether by facilitating family learning and catalyzing community change or stimulating economic development through job training and skills development. Our agency’s support enables museums and libraries to offer learning experiences for students and families, as well as to increase care for, and access to, the nation’s collections that are entrusted to museums and libraries by the public.
We’ve invested in rural and smaller communities by supporting basic infrastructure and by developing libraries as local community hubs for broadband connectivity and digital literacy training — helping many residents gain job-related skills and, in many cases, find employment. In summary, our grants and programs support libraries and museums as essential contributors to improving Americans’ quality of life.
More than $214 million of our $230 million FY 2016 enacted budget targets museums and libraries directly through our grant programs. This includes $155 million for library services to every state and territory in the country through a population-based formula grant program.
As Congress now begins its work on the FY 2018 budget, our agency will continue to work closely with the Office of Management and Budget. More importantly, we will continue to remain steadfast in our work on behalf of the millions of Americans touched by the services of libraries and museums each day.
A little history about IMLS:
IMLS was established by the Museum and Library Services Act (MLSA) on September 30, 1996, which includes the Library Services and Technology Act and the Museum Services Act. This act was reauthorized in 2003 and again in 2010. The law combined the Institute of Museum Services, which had been in existence since 1976, and the Library Programs Office, which had been part of the Department of Education since 1956. Lawmakers at that time saw “great potential in an Institute that is focused on the combined roles that libraries and museums play in our community life.”
As amended, MLSA authorizes IMLS to promote improvements in library services; to facilitate access to resources in libraries; to encourage resource sharing among libraries; to support museums in fulfilling their public service and educational roles; to encourage leadership and innovation to enhance museum services; to assist museums in the conservation of America’s heritage; to support museums in achieving the highest standards of management and service to the public; and to support resource sharing among museums, libraries and other organizations. MLSA also authorizes IMLS to carry out and publish analyses of the impact of museum and library services.
The act comes up for re-authorization every 5 years. Adjustment to the act have been made over time.
In April 2014, Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) recommended that the federal government not fund MLSA and “shift the federal agency’s responsibilities to the private sector in his 2015 fiscal year budget resolution” such as “funded at the state and local level and augmented significantly by charitable contributions from the private sector”.
IMLS, while libraries are grateful for it, is another example of how the Clintons found a “third way” to give some support for library research. George Bush’s administration provided Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grants via IMLS. Unlike the days of LBJ, when libraries were given a lot of government resources for buildings, books, and other supplies to create literacy programs for the poor and better resources for information needs for small businesses, the R’s started crying “budget deficit” during the Raygun period, which was the groundwork for neoconservatives that still exists, but now to a certain degree via neoliberalism that the Clintons espoused. As we know through Mick Mulvaney, OMB Director, neoconservatism is back and is threatening our social programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, public schools, supplemental nutrition, support for vets, and now, libraries, because his claim is antipoverty programs don’t work.
Clinton was gracious enough to mention that some public libraries have trained staff to administer anti-opioid interventions. Again, from the same article:
Clinton also addressed the opioid epidemic and how librarians have been called on to become first responders. She specifically cited the Free Library of Philadelphia for “training librarians to be literal life savers.”
But like most of Clinton’s ideas during her campaigns in the past 10 years, Clinton was stuck in the past of how valuable books were and how librarians loved books as she does. She mentioned a number of authors she read when she wasn’t taking long walks in the woods. She did appreciate initiatives for inclusion and diversity, such as Marley Dias’s 1,000 Black Girl Books campaign and the We Need Diverse Books campaign. And Clinton’s Villagers are still litigating the election with some the
> horseshit horseshoe theory of Trumpters and Bernsters both being racists and misogynists,unwilling to build coalitions for inclusiveness and diversity and they are the alt-right & the alt-left of the same coin. (This linked article is what I saw in the villagers’ crib at TOP )
However, there was scant mention from Clinton about net neutrality, which libraries are fighting for, moreover, no vision of what a library could look like for her grandchildren, Adian and Charlotte. Why? Because the Clintons and their daughter’s spouse can buy anything they want. (I might mention that Clinton put in a plug for Chelsea’s new children’s book, She Persisted, during the speech, which was fine, given the audience). They have forgotten what’s it is like to have to cut staff, resources for maintenance let alone expanding spaces for teens and having good centers to support entrepreneurs. Libraries have relied on grants and fundraisers to do these things. Public libraries in particular are vulnerable to the oligarchy of the Koch Brothers, who led a local resistance to raising the tax levy for an IL library that had an outdated building and not enough resources to keep up service demands from local cardholders. People forget that in times of recessions, public libraries are often the first to get cut in budgets, when they are needed most as resource centers.
And there was no advice on how to stand up for democracy, other than “just keep fighting and I’m with you.”
Well, the evidence is looking as though Americans do not want the status quo of neoliberals. From Newsweek, today:
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) might not have won the presidency or even the Democratic nomination in 2016, but he did manage to energize a portion of voters and give voice to socialist ideals. That influence might be showing in a new poll released Wednesday.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) has recently been the subject of controversy as some Democratic lawmakers have once again started to suggest she should be removed from her position of leadership within the Democratic Party. Republicans have also sharpened their attacks against the leader, and a House GOP Super PAC said this week they would focus on Pelosi during the 2018 midterms, as Republicans have done in previous midterm elections to rally their base.
And the view of the voters, who want the government to work for them:
The poll published this week from Morning Consult/Politico asked respondents what they thought of Pelosi’s job performance. Forty-one percent of Democrats thought she should stay as minority leader while 27 percent thought she should be replaced. Thirty-six percent of Democrats thought things had gone mostly well for the party under Pelosi while 19 percent said mostly bad and 27 percent said neither good nor bad.
But when asked if a hypothetical replacement should be a socialist or capitalist, more Democrats opted for socialism. Thirty-five percent said it’s somewhat or very important the replacement be a socialist while 31 percent felt the same for a capitalist.
The Morning Consult/Politico survey interviewed 1,994 registered voters from June 22 through June 24. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Since Sanders launched his presidential campaign in 2015, the number of activists in the Democratic Socialists of America has doubled to 19,000, PBS reported in March. Socialism, once considered a word with highly negative connotations by many within the American political scene, has especially grown in popularity among young people.
A YouGov poll shortly after inauguration found 43 percent of respondents under 30 years old had a favorable view of socialism while just 32 percent of the same age bracket had a favorable view of capitalism.
My guess is that Bernie Sanders’ presidental budget would have contained other ways to support more social programs so that people and small businesses in communities could thrive. I’m glad Clinton came to ALA to speak to 25% of the ALA conference attendees but to me, if she really wanted to be someone of the people, she should have spoken to groups like ALA during her candidacy–for free.
Maybe ALA can get Nina Turner next year as one of the keynote speakers next year as the conference will be in NOLA. She would definitely be in the librarians’ lane.
This post also serves as an afternoon/evening thread. Comment away! (cross posted at C99)