IFRT Members Community (Open)

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The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) provides a forum for the discussion of activities, programs, and problems in intellectual freedom of libraries and librarians.

The IFRT Members Community group is the central hub for discussion, library and events. It is visible to all ALA members but only IFRT members can participate in the conversation.

  • 1.  Who is running the IFRT's Twitter feed?

    Posted Dec 08, 2022 12:40 PM
    In one Tweet they comment that "small and rural libraries" might provide an audience for Kirk Cameron RE: his book publicity stunt, and in another they tweet that Cameron's book is intolerance masquerading as love. Is the IFRT publicly implying that small and rural libraries are libraries where intolerance is acceptable?

    What's the message here?

    ------------------------------
    Darryl Eschete
    Director
    West Des Moines Public Library
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Who is running the IFRT's Twitter feed?

    Posted Dec 08, 2022 06:53 PM

    Hi Daryl, 

    The Publications and Communications committee makes up our social media team for IFRT. I am looking into the post, the intent, and the next steps. It wasn't anyone's intention to make the correlation that small and rural libraries are bastions for intolerance. And yet I cannot underscore that intent doesn't make up for impact. I apologize that anything we have written would make folks feel like their library and hard work are places for intolerance. 

    I will update this Connect post after evaluating it.

    Thank you for bringing this concern forward and asking a question others are also thinking about,

    Angela Ocaña

    IFRT Chair



    ------------------------------
    Angela Ocana
    Community Services Manager
    Eugene Public Library
    She/Her/Hers
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Who is running the IFRT's Twitter feed?

    Posted Dec 08, 2022 07:50 PM
    I don’t think it’s a big deal and I doubt anyone else would, either. Twitter is a platform that seems to make creating misunderstandings a feature rather than a bug. I think the explanations offered are sufficient.

    I would posit that Twitter-minders should keep in mind that feeds are “binged” on or read in series and so Tweet A and Tweet B can combine in ways unintended in a sort of defacto Tweet C. All respect to Mr. Blackwell et.al.

    Sent from my iPhone; please pardon my brevity or any typographical errors.




  • 4.  RE: Who is running the IFRT's Twitter feed?

    Posted Dec 09, 2022 07:19 AM
    Hello all,
    Thank you to everyone who brought this and related tweets to my attention as the chair of Publications & Communications Committee.
    I did receive a personal email and want to share my reply (with the original sender anonymous) verbatim for transparency in our community (below).
    Additionally, I have replied to and quote-tweeted the post with the following clarification:
    This post reflects the views of an individual member of @IFRT_ALA Publications&Communications Committee and does not represent the views of the round table. In the interest of intellectual freedom and transparency, we are leaving it published. Sarah Hartman-Caverly, PubComm chair
    I personally believe in leaving the tweet published for the reasons stated, but I would respond to an official motion from IFRT Executive Committee to delete the post. As the chair of Publications and Communications, I accept responsibility for the tone, content, and impact of our official round table communications, including our social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
    As a personal aside, and as a political conservative / libertarian serving in IFRT, I have become accustomed to ignoring hyperbolic caricatures and pointed barbs about the millions of people who share my political views and values spoken by fellow IFRT members and OIF leadership. I hope this episode reminds us all that we can disagree and be critical without denigration.
    All best,
    Sarah Hartman-Caverly


    Hi [anonymized],

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention -- I try to adopt the broadest possible view of what constitutes our intellectual freedom public relations mission and to respect poster 'voice,' but I do agree with you.

    Unless things become more egregious, I will include a mid-year reminder about our social media guidelines with my weekly social media tips email that will go out tomorrow [today, Friday 12/9/22].

    If the situation escalates, I can reach out to the individual who is on Twitter duty this week directly.

    I'm trying to walk the line between mission and chilling effect 😅

    Please let me know if you have further thoughts on this, and please feel free to bring future content to my attention!

    Best,

    Sarah



    ------------------------------
    Sarah Hartman-Caverly
    Reference & Instruction Librarian
    Penn State Berks Campus Thun Library
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Who is running the IFRT's Twitter feed?

    Posted Dec 09, 2022 08:50 AM
    Edited by Thomas Lamanna Dec 09, 2022 08:52 AM
    Honestly, this is something that would have been better left unsaid. This is an embarrassing way for a director to behave. If you really don't think that making a connection between rural libraries and intolerance is unacceptable I doubt your ability to parse difficult decisions for your library.

    ------------------------------
    Thomas Lamanna
    He/Him/His
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Who is running the IFRT's Twitter feed?

    Posted Dec 09, 2022 09:52 AM
    Edited by Darryl Eschete Dec 09, 2022 10:26 AM

    I didn't mean to embarrass anybody, and I hope I didn't come across as a scold. I swear I was simply concerned that the two messages combined poorly and might make us-because I consider IFRT an "us"-- look like we were throwing small and rural libraries under some sort of bus or implying that rural or small town people (and their librarians) are more hateful or hate-comfortable by default than city people. As a transplanted Iowan, I may have felt that worry keener than I would have ten years ago. Mr. Blackwell says he didn't mean that and I believe him unreservedly.

     

    I like and respect Mr. Blackwell-he and I have made common cause in the recent past on the Salman Rushdie matter-and I believe Mr. Blackwell's passion on this bit of manufactured news speaks very well of him and not ill and I regret if my worrying aloud and the fallout therefrom may have put him in a bad light in ANYONE'S eyes. I'd say a director SHOULD be passionate about defending intellectual freedom, and I know he is. They should be alert to the kind of smarmy grift/political blackmail that I think this whole "let me do a storytime at your library with my book or be accused of perverting the youth" thing really is.  The ALA and its roundtables are a more diverse mix of minds and viewpoints than official messaging might let on at times and I cringe at the thought that I unintentionally highlighted or emphasized the kinds of differences that people like to draw battle lines and bicker over.

     

    My message was meant to be a "whoa, careful" rather than a public shaming.

     

    Darryl H. Eschete, MLIS

    Director, West Des Moines Public Library

    4000 Mills Civic Parkway

    West Des Moines, Iowa 50265

    Tel--515-222-3409

    Fax--515-222-3401

     






  • 7.  RE: Who is running the IFRT's Twitter feed?

    Posted Dec 09, 2022 01:35 PM
    Edited by Sarah Hartman-Caverly Dec 09, 2022 01:35 PM
    Hello all,
    In the interest of transparency, here's an excerpt from the weekly tips email I sent to PubComm members today addressing this discussion:

    Before we get to our regularly scheduled programming, I want to address some news about our social media presence this week. It got even more attention and engagement than usual - both positive (6 new Twitter follows including Pen America? Awesome job!) and negative. I and other leaders in IFRT and OIF were contacted by members who felt the content and tone of some of our posts was off-mission and divisive.
    As PubComm chair, I take responsibility for the content, tone, and impact of our round table communications. I am inclined to view our intellectual freedom public relations mission as broadly as possible, and to respect each committee members' posting 'voice.' That said, we are representing the round table (and, by extension/association, OIF and ALA) and need to comport ourselves according to the round table's social media policy. Here are a few asks for this week:
    • Please review the IFRT social media policy.
    • When staffing social media, please prioritize round table and affiliate content (see tips, below!).
    • If you are simultaneously logged in to IFRT and your personal social media accounts, please confirm you are posting to the intended account!
    • Before posting or resharing, ask yourself:
      • Is this content about intellectual freedom? (Example: Content about access to reproductive health information: intellectual freedom! Commentary about the legality of specific medial procedures: Not intellectual freedom.)
      • Does this content accurately reflect the shared views of IFRT? (The round table's description and strategic plan are available on the website.)
      • Can the tone of this content be misconstrued? Will my intent align with the impact? Social media lends itself to snark, but please tread lightly (and thoughtfully)!
    It has been my pleasure working with you all this committee year, and I have the utmost trust in all of you to convey the message and mission of the round table and the broader importance of intellectual freedom. Please feel free to reach out to me directly (smh767@psu.edu), reply here or start a new post thread if you would like to discuss this issue further.
    Without further adieu, here are your tips for the week!...

    ------------------------------
    Sarah Hartman-Caverly
    Reference & Instruction Librarian
    Penn State Berks Campus Thun Library
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Who is running the IFRT's Twitter feed?

    Posted Dec 09, 2022 02:52 PM
    Thank you, Sarah, for your work and the work of the Publications and Communications team. Their work has been outstanding this year, and I want to acknowledge that sometimes, things happen. Darryl's comment was just one of the ones we received, and I want folks to know they can always post to Connect in a respectful manner that asks for clarity. We are a member-led organization and, as leaders, accountable to the membership. We are also all volunteers trying to be the best we can be. This Round Table is full of passionate individuals who care about Intellectual Freedom and I am proud to be your Chair.

    Please reach out if you have any questions, Sarah and I will update this thread as needed.

    Thank you,
    Angela Ocaña
    IFRT Chair

    ------------------------------
    Angela Ocana
    Community Services Manager
    Eugene Public Library
    She/Her/Hers
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Who is running the IFRT's Twitter feed?

    Posted Dec 12, 2022 07:55 AM
    Hello all,

    Reporting the following for transparency:

    Over the weekend, ALA management deleted four tweets from the @ALA_IFRT account, as follows:
    Anger was building amongst members that an ALA account would retweet anti-trans activist JK Rowling. We logged in to the IFRT_ALA Twitter account and unretweeted that post and three others (see attached). Screenshots 1, 2, and 4 were deleted because they could be framed as ALA supporting/opposing specific politicians which can jeopardize our 501c3 status.
    I will be meeting one-on-one with the IFRT Publications & Communications Committee member who was running the Twitter account last week to ensure that they understand why the political posts were inappropriate to publish to the official @ALA_IFRT account. We will also discuss strategies for avoiding accidental posting, such as browser compartmentalization, and review the IFRT social media policy together.

    Additionally, all members of IFRT Publications & Communications Committee have been asked to review the IFRT social media policy.

    Finally, ALA management expressed dissatisfaction with my handling of this situation, as follows:
    I also have concerns about the tweet referencing Kirk Cameron and the way it was handled. It was offensive to small and rural libraries, intentionally or not, and I believe it should have been deleted. Retweeting with the statement below doesn't make sense to me. Anything that is posted to an ALA social media channel absolutely does represent the views of the member group.

    This post reflects the views of an individual member of https://twitter.com/IFRT_ALA. Click or tap if you trust this link." data-linkindex="1">@IFRT_ALA Publications & Communications Committee and does not represent the views of the round table. In the interest of intellectual freedom and transparency, we are leaving it published. Sarah Hartman-Caverly, PubComm chair
    I respect and accept the will of IFRT membership and Executive Committee if you decide to appoint new leadership to IFRT Publications & Communications Committee, as I've taken responsibility for this content as the chair, even though I did not post it.

    I understand ALA et al.'s concerns but do find their unilateral decision to delete posts censorious. I personally remain satisfied with my handling of the situation, as I believe censorship of another's content is the "nuclear option" and that we have not exhausted all other means of handling the situation, which I attribute partially to good-faith error on the committee member's part (ex. accidental reshares intended for their personal account).

    My goal has always been to uphold and demonstrate the utmost values of intellectual freedom while fulfilling the committee's responsibility to IFRT and ALA.

    Sarah Hartman-Caverly

    Sarah Hartman-Caverly, MS(LIS), MSIS 
    Assistant Librarian | Liaison to Engineering, Business and Computing


    smh767@psu.edu | (610-396)x6243 

    Thun Library, 107 
    Penn State Berks
    PO Box 7009, Tulpehocken Rd. 
    Reading, PA 19610

    "Facts are many, but the truth is one." Rabindranath Tagore






  • 10.  RE: Who is running the IFRT's Twitter feed?

    Posted Dec 12, 2022 01:48 PM
    Hello all,
    Reporting the following for transparency:
    I met with the member of IFRT PubComm who was staffing the Twitter account last week.
    Together, we reviewed
    • the IFRT social media policy
    • tweets that were flagged or deleted by ALA management as off-mission or risky to ALA's 501(c) 3 status (see attached),
    • content on the @IFRT_ALA twitter timeline that presents "gray areas" where judgment is needed, and
    • browser compartmentalization as a strategy to avoid accidental posting of content that is intended for a personal account.
    In addition to the four tweets already deleted by ALA (see attached), together we identified six additional retweets that were either political in nature so as to implicate ALA's 501(c)3 status, off-mission to the stated purpose of IFRT social media as outlined in the policy, or both. These have since been 'un-retweeted' and no longer appear in the @IFRT_ALA timeline. I'm attaching screenshots for transparency.
    Finally, we reviewed other posts that fall into a "gray area" ​where the connection to libraries and/or intellectual freedom isn't immediately clear. (For example, posts about abortion and reproductive health should highlight access to reproductive health information rather than emphasize the legal status of a specific medical procedure.) We discussed the strategies of quote-tweeting and retweeting with a threaded reply as ways to add context to these kinds of posts so that their relevance to the purpose of IFRT social media is clearly evident.
    Please feel welcome to reply here or contact me directly at smh767@psu.edu with any further thoughts.​

    ------------------------------
    Sarah Hartman-Caverly
    Reference & Instruction Librarian
    Penn State Berks Campus Thun Library
    ------------------------------