About the earlier article I posted about neutrality, it was pretty good. To summarize, the author stresses that neutrality is important in collections but then decides that neutrality is impossible.
This should not be taken as a sign that neutrality is not possible so screw it, but that true D&D style neutrality is impossible for human beings. That does not mean we stop. Trying to overcome racism may be impossible, but is that a reason to stop? Outlawing murder does not stop murder, but we don’t make it legal as a response.
Neutrality is a difficult thing to try and achieve. It is an ethic stressed by librarians and to a point it is true. “Every book has its reader” is a part of the code. So what has that to do with neutrality? When building collections, librarians must decide upon what to include. It is not possible to be completely neutral here, not all books can be included and sometimes they have to go to make room. All books are not equal. Shakespeare is not the same as geology. Books on science become outdated. It would be awful to have a library stocked with books on dinosaurs that are all 20 years old. Things change because science marches on.When it comes to books that a librarian just does not like, being neutral means setting aside your personal biases and remembering that every book has its reader. I have said it before, I will say it again: I can’t stand Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey, in fact fiction kind of bores me compared to non-fiction. But the library is for people other than me.
The real problem with neutrality that the article stresses, is that you are not entitled to your own facts. A librarian can try to supply all sides of an argument and said article asks “why try?” I dislike the ‘it’s hard so why bother’ attitude, but not all sides are equal. Do we really need to give equal time to the Flat Earth Societies arguments? How about Nazi sympathizers and their books? Blocking them out completely might bring about Machiavelli’s fear about things that are actively suppressed become more attractive, but the library has finite space and while we strive to make all voices heard, some have less to say.
I would include, in a library, some literature that I find offensive. I cannot give some Holocaust myth book the same weight as Elie Wiesel’s ‘Night’Books like that might be better left under ‘fiction.’