Diversity Member Initiative Group

last person joined: 10 hours ago 

This member initiative group provides an organizational home for anyone dedicated to fostering an improved climate for diversity within their institutions and professional organizations.

Inclusion and Intellectual Freedom

  • 1.  Inclusion and Intellectual Freedom

    Posted Dec 28, 2014 06:44 PM

    As I read Courtney Young's President's Message in American Libraries (that prompted me to join) I was struck by the idea that including diverse viewpoints is the foundation of intellectual freedom.  Certainly both are essential to human dignity, but when it comes to healthy organizations, whether small or a whole democracy, diversity is the check against error.  Sometimes people think diversity and intellectual freedom are mutually exclusive when they are actually complementary. 


  • 2.  RE: Inclusion and Intellectual Freedom

    Posted Jan 04, 2015 11:02 PM

    Hi Carolyn,

    So glad you can join us! I hope many others do join us, post here, and discuss these very important topics. I do think the idea of heuristics (what  you'd called "check against error") is fundamental. However, I am very taken with another perspective or definition of heuristics: experience-based problem solving. Having said this, heuristics are also the basis of psychological shortcuts, such as stereotypes. When such ingrained "common sense understandings" clash, we often come up with ideas such as "diversity and intellectual freedom are mutually exclusive." Challenging these ingrained stereotypes and rules of thumb (also heuristically formed) within an organization can be very difficult, mostly because it requires some deep introspection, both individually as members and collectively as an organization.

    What can we do (or what do we already do) to foster this time of reflection within our library organizations? How can we foster this type of introspection here?




  • 3.  RE: Inclusion and Intellectual Freedom

    Posted Jan 07, 2015 10:58 AM

    I couldn't agree more.


    Everything from collection development to information literacy can be enhanced by inclusion.


    For instance, there has been practically NO work done on colonialism's impact on information, knowledge and education in libraries.  This is because there have not been enough various viewpoints included and because of the virtual indoctrination into W. culture's White-supremacy values via non-critical education.


    Information diffusion in the hip-hop community via Rap, Art and Dance


    Biases in historical information about indigenous people's in the so-called Americas


    Non-hierarchical leadership structures taken from other cultures


    Innovation in ways we cannot imagine



    are all benefits of including others whose views, needs and contributions have been marginalized.  


     These subjects and more are almost completely neglected because of the lack of available viewpoints in our profession and in Education in general.  

  • 4.  RE: Inclusion and Intellectual Freedom

    Posted Jan 09, 2015 04:59 PM

    Reading the following article, I was reminded about this thread: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2015/01/opinion/charlie-hebdo-opinion/

    The larger context and why I had thought of this thread is that the predominant narrative is that the Charlie Hebdo tragedy is primarily about freedom of expression, a tenet of intellectual freedom. Second to this narrative is the growing unrest trained at Muslim immigrants in France (i.e., a stand-in for diversity, if you will). If we take the dominant narrative uncritically, we can see how a reasonable person can (and does) conclude that diversity and intellectual freedom are mutually exclusive.

    I had all of this in mind when I read David Lankes' piece in Library Journal (linked above). I was really struck by the perspective that libraries can help its communities weave their own narratives regarding the crisis-level events that may be happening around them. It made me wonder if it was possible to do something similar, for when events may be happening from a distance, but we still have a strong investment in?


  • 5.  RE: Inclusion and Intellectual Freedom

    Posted Jan 21, 2015 03:10 PM

    Wikis and blogs that are set up for this purpose could come into play when things 'happen.'


    I would actually start them up now and begin telling the story from THAT perspective NOW. 


    I love the idea!