February 17 – Excerpts from an article on the website of PBS. Protests against the new administration by librarians … began popping up in large numbers around the country after Mr. Trump signed two executive orders on immigration, one which could lead to the stripping of federal funds of so-called “sanctuary cities”, refugees as well as travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. — an order that’s been halted by the courts, but is still at the center of a legal battle.
Librarians who spoke to the NewsHour said these orders touched a nerve, especially for those who work at public libraries, which often serve a diverse population that includes new immigrants. According to the Institute of Museum and Library Services, 55% of new Americans use a library at least once a week.
“We are huge resources for newcomers to this country, whether it’s for connection to this country, legal resources, testing preparation, citizen tests, services like storytimes or homework help,” said Elizabeth McKinstry, a public librarian based in Dedham, Massachusetts, who has been vocal in rallying librarians online post-election. “We are there for the most vulnerable folks in our communities, people on the other side of the digital or language divide.”
And so, after the two executive orders, librarians across the country began responding with individual acts of resistance at their branches. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, which has been a sanctuary city since 1985, the public library announced that it would be a sanctuary space. At the Hennepin County Library in Minnesota, which serves a large population from Somalia, one of the seven countries affected by the travel ban, a campaign was launched called “All are welcome here”. …
The American Library Association (ALA), the country’s oldest and largest library organization with some 57,000 members, denounced the new administration’s actions, saying they “stand in stark contrast to the core values” of librarianship, which according to the ALA include access to information, confidentiality and privacy, diversity and social responsibility.
Librarian dissent is also spreading on social media. On Twitter, a new @LibrariesResist account is sharing resources “for libraries and library workers in the resistance… because if Park Rangers can do it, so can we” — a reference to the National Park Service rogue tweeting after the Trump administration told the agency not to. The @LibrariesResist resources include pages on privacy and surveillance, fake news and propaganda, a “Stop Trump reading list and a “Trump syllabus” as well as an explanation of libraries as sanctuary spaces.
Read entire article on site of the Public Broadcasting System.