Charlie Hebdo | Opinion

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RDavidLankesThis post creatively seemed on R. David Lankes’ blog.

This morning [January 8] in a Tweet Bredebieb asked me “what should open libraries do,” about a Charlie Hebdo attack. It was honestly a bit of a humbling and frightful question. After all, we am not in Paris, and we can't explain to know all that French libraries do now. However, it would be an apparent act of timidity to simply explain stupidity or to respond with some high spin non-answer like “help a communities have a conversation.” So we supposing some ideas:

  • “provide a stable place to pronounce about a dispute and a reasons for a dispute and giveaway expression. Provide entrance to Charlie.”
  • “host talks and forums on giveaway countenance and democracy. Host a tellurian library eventuality with opposite faiths.”
  • “host sessions with therapists and relatives on how to make kids feel safe.”
  • “above all use this as an eventuality to be a stable place to denote feelings and assistance your community.”
  • “help your village harmonise a account and afterwards plan it to a world. Is it ‘we shall overcome?’ Or ‘we mount with Charlie?’”

and finished with:

  • “all libraries should yield stable place to redeem and a collection to spin tragedy into movement and understanding.”

Still, Twitter is not accurately a place to have a low contention of where these ideas come from, nor truly share what we consider open libraries should do. So in this post I’d like to give a deeper answer to how we feel open libraries should respond to horrific acts like a attacks on Charlie Hebdo. I’d like to benefaction 3 lessons we have learned.

The initial doctrine is to quarrel assault with information and understanding. On Sep 11th 2001 we was a executive of a ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Technology. we came in to work that day usually after a initial qualification had strike a World Trade Center Towers. After a second qualification crashed a whole clearinghouse staff collected in my bureau with a TV examination a coverage. Horrified and a bit numb, we sent everybody home. This was a time to be with family.

Over a subsequent week we met seeking accurately a same doubt that Bredebieb asked: “What should we do?” At a time we ran a use called AskERIC that perceived hundreds of practical anxiety questions any day and a good trafficked website for educators. The answer we came adult with was building InfoGuides (think WebGuides/FAQs) on a dispute that we updated as some-more was schooled as good as other associated topics. We posted them on a web and sent them out in email. The overwhelmingly viewed/used apparatus we rise was on Islam.

What we took divided from that part was that in a arise of tragedy, people demeanour for bargain and trust of a unknown. So librarians need to surprise their communities by FAQs, an repository of media coverage to emanate an accurate memory of a event, and lots of opportunities for communication between cultures, races, and ideas.

The subsequent doctrine we have to offer we schooled from a libraries portion Ferguson Missouri during a secular disturbance this past year: assistance a village rise their possess narrative. During riots and assault in Ferguson a open libraries (Ferguson Public Library and Saint Louis Country Public Library) not usually stayed open and supposing a stable place for children and citizens, it offering adult an choice account to violence. While most of a media focused on military contra a black community, a libraries took to amicable media, normal media, and even signage outward a buildings articulate about Ferguson as a family.

They highlighted how with a schools closed, educators, children and relatives came together to emanate their possess ad hoc propagandize among a stacks and shelves of a libraries. Rather than permitting their village to be usually embellished as indignant black mobs fighting a militarized police, a libraries showed Ferguson to be a place of mixed races entrance together around children, learning, and a enterprise for a improved future.

The libraries did not lessen a conflict, nor omit systemic racism. Yet a libraries did not close, and did not retreat. The libraries – no, a librarians did something and showed a universe that Ferguson is not so opposite from Syracuse, or Seattle, or communities opposite a country…and that like those communities, they are some-more than a headlines. They humanized a narrative.

What we took divided from Ferguson was that libraries not usually yield a constructive space; they supplement abyss of bargain to a world. Give a village a possibility to breathe, morn, reflect, and afterwards act and speak.

My final doctrine comes from a librarians of Alexandria during a Arab Spring. In a midst of riots and polite disturbance a protestors stable a library. Where many supervision buildings were ripped down and looted, a library was protected. Why? Because for a years heading adult to a riots and overthrow a librarians did their jobs. They turn devoted resources for a village since they supposing genuine advantage to a normal citizen of Alexandria and intellectually honest services.

So a lesson? Continue to be a apparatus for your communities. Continue to denote a values of librarianship: egghead honesty, egghead earthy safety; honesty transparency; and a significance of learning.

What we wish a French libraries do is what we wish we would have a bravery to do in their place: be a stable place to pronounce about and learn about vulnerable issues. Invite in all faiths to pronounce about how to discharge violence, and how to respond. Provide prepared entrance to Charlie Hebdo, and argumentative materials. Talk about (host lectures, city halls, and events) around a significance of giveaway countenance in a giveaway society.

Help to qualification a village account and plan it to a world. What is a village meditative about and training from this tragedy? What do we do as librarians and what works. What can other librarians learn about responding to these terrible events?

I have done it my goal to disciple for librarians to be active agents of transformative amicable engagement. In other words, we have done it my goal to have librarians make their communities improved by active service. we trust it is essential for librarians to actively try to change a universe and make it a place for fewer abominations like yesterday’s attack. Doing that is scary. We were not lerned as grief counselors and no one choses simply to run towards conflict. Yet if we trust that librarians and libraries should make the communities improved (more knowledgeable, some-more capable, some-more empowered) than we can't bashful divided from actively helping.

To my French colleagues we ask, how can we help?

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