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Nothing is free in a library October 23, 2008

Posted by Kevupnorth in Uncategorized.

I went a library orientated day with work this week, so maybe libraries are on my mind.  You may have seen this story in the news earlier in the week.  Author Iain Sinclair started a debate about free speech in libraries after Hackney Council banned him from launching his book at their library because he had expressed anti-olympic and anti-regeneration views.  Onre comment I heard went along the lines of: “There are lots of books in the library that won’t quote council policy – who are the council to decide what books we can read?  A public library should be a place for freedom of knowledge”.

I’d like to take that question a step further and shamelessly jump on Iain’s bandwagon.  If we’re going to talk about freedom of press, do we not need to talk about freedom of search as well?  I know of many public libraires where MySpace, Facebook and even FriendsReunited are banned.  Is this not censorship in the same way?  If we are, in our public buildings, preventing access to the most powerfull tools communities possess, the freedom to freely communicate, are we failing them?

Answers on a postcard….or just via the comment box.



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