Surveillance in the Stacks: The FBI's Library Awareness Program

Synopsis

"Foerstel, himself one of the leaders in the effort to expose the FBI's notorious spies in the stacks' program, writes as a partisan of privacy rights with a well-earned distrust of the FBI's efforts to excuse itself from observing those rights. In fairness to the other side, however, he also gives full play to the arguments of national security and for the prevention of the flow of sensitive' information into foriegn hands. In this extensively documented and thoroughly researched tale, he offers many stories of the courage and fortitude of librarians opposed to this program, from the jailing of Zoia Horn to the eloquent indignation of Columbia University's Paula Kaufman and the tenacious Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Committee. Less happy is his picture of the heavily politicized National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) and others who have acquiesced to the spying. The chapters on the political ramifications of the program and the legal context of library confidentiality are also valuable--although it is possible to argue with some of Foerstel's conclusions. But this illuminating, cautionary work is bound to remain an authoritative source on a vitally important subject." Library Journal ." . . the book can be compelling and even, melodramatic as it may sound, frightening reading." Booklist