ALA Council

Labeling Systems: 2nd of Four Proposed Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights 

Apr 29, 2015 10:27 AM


Colleagues,

As you may remember, in response to concerns expressed at the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, the IFC has split the Labeling and Ratings Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights into three Interpretations, 1) Labeling, 2) Ratings, and 3) User Generated Content (UGC) and revised them in light of subsequent comments.

Here is the latest draft of the Labeling Interpretation.  Please "reply" or "comment" in ALA Connect with your suggestions and the IFC will do another round of revisions as needed before San Francisco.

Thanks very much,

Doug Archer

Chair, ALA IFC

archer.1@nd.edu



New Labeling Systems Interpretation - draft 5.0 - April 29 2015 _0.docx
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May 08, 2015 03:47 PM

I agree with the comments above with regard to making labels and directional signs that aid the patron.

May 05, 2015 09:37 AM

Perhaps merely echoing what Daniel said above, I'm not excited about this sentence "

"For instance, “inspirational fiction” may be more inclusive and less valued-laden or limited in scope than 'Christian fiction.'"

Ending the paragraph without the sentence would, I think, make exactly the same point.

Or, if the statement needs an example, perhaps the the paragraph might read:

"Directional aids can also have the effect of prejudicial labels when their implementation becomes proscriptive rather than descriptive. When directional aids are used to forbid access or to suggest moral or doctrinal endorsement, the effect is the same as prejudicial labeling.  Even well- intentioned labels may have this effect. 'Closed stacks', 'Locked case', 'Young adult', 'Christian fiction', 'inspirational fiction' and other directional aids should be carefully considered so that their use does not forbid access or suggest endorsement." 

Clearly that could be improved, but I don't see any particular reason that "Christian fiction" should be the single example. 

 

May 03, 2015 08:39 AM

I won't start a floor fight if this language doesn't change, but from a user perspective I'm troubled by this paragraph:

When directional aids are used to forbid access or to suggest moral or doctrinal endorsement, the effect is the same as prejudicial labeling.  Even well- intentioned labels may have this effect.  For instance, “inspirational fiction” may be more inclusive and less valued-laden or limited in scope than “Christian fiction.”

I've got no problem at all with the first sentence. I do question going after "well intentioned" labels in general and going after "Christian fiction" in particular. Someone who is specifically looking for Christian fiction is better served with "Christian fiction" labels than "Inspirational fiction" labels in the same way that a person looking for mystery novels is better served by a "Mystery" label than a "fiction" label. In both cases we save the time of reader. If you know that Christian fiction is popular in your community, why bury the popular books under a broader label?

Another consideration is that if we drop religion specific adjectives, we lose out on highlighting other types of inspirational fiction. Under the proposed interpretation, "Muslim fiction" and "Buddhist fiction" would be just as off the table for labeling as "Christian fiction." This could be a serious missed marketing and diversity opportunities in communities with significant non-Christian populations. 

In general, I think patrons are best served when labels are presumed to be directional unless there is a clear intent to steer people away from certain books. I hope the committee will consider this as we get closer to Conference. 

 

 

 

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