Magazine article American Libraries

Learning the Hard Way

Magazine article American Libraries

Learning the Hard Way

Article excerpt

Where is the outrage?" asked Garrison Keillor in his syndicated column, calling the federal bailout of the financial market "a calamity people accept as if it were just one more hurricane.... It wasn't their money they were playing with," he added. "It was yours. Where were the cops?" It was library money too, and already we are seeing the effect on philanthropy and on budgets at the local level (p. 20).

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ALA showed some outrage when it signed on to a September 23 letter to the Senate Banking Committee (p. 13) urging that sections of the bailout legislation be changed to address "one of the current crisis' fundamental causes--corruption and other abuses of power sustained by secrecy. Otherwise, the taxpayers could end up giving $700 billion more to repeat the same disasters. Congress must prove it has learned this lesson. Any genuine solution must be grounded in transparency, with all relevant records publicly available and best practice whistleblower protection for all employees connected with the new law. Secrecy worsened this crisis, and taxpayers will not accept a law for secret solutions. What happens to our money is our business." Bravo.

It's been a rocky month, made unexpectedly rockier for American Libraries by an October 2 telephone call from Tom Hennen (just as the October issue of the magazine had mailed and the newly redesigned Chicago Tribune was arriving on my doorstep) informing me that he'd unwittingly used the wrong dataset to tabulate the latest edition of his HAPLR ranking. …

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