I’ve been sick lately and that has affected my blogging. I do need to get on with this. Examining my old friend the Progressive Librarians Guild is an easy task but a little different this time around. This is meant as a place for the activist librarian who does not believe that neutrality is a realistic position. The guild, according to its mission statement, was formed in 1990 with a mission to protect libraries from what they felt was the growing influence of business interests. That is a noble cause and close to my own heart. Libraries should be free from private interests that might dictate what sort of books can be included.
Like CoOL, the PLG is committed to helping groups with similar interests maintain contact. The articles they publish are openly radical as is the guild itself. They regularly publish issues of their own journal and if you feel so inclined (and pay membership dues) they are always calling for submissions. This is not, as far as I know peer reviewed. In fact, the ALA sees the group as radical. They can hardly argue, as that is part of their banner.
Someday, I think I would like to join the PLG because I do believe there should be a wall between libraries and private interests who might try to decide what is fit for a library that they supplied money to. If they like, they can open their own libraries, but I oppose the sneaky practice of de-facto buying through influence.
Comparing the two is an intriguing task. They are both committed to linking groups with similar interests which is laudable. CoOL is not radical and not trying to be. They are informative and lack any political bent whereas the PLG is all about its in-your-face political statement. In their own way, they are both about preservation, one of documents and one of free and independent libraries. Both are needed by libraries. CoOL is more of a how-to manual while the PLG is kind of a gather and be angry site. Their tone is not at all neutral, not that they want to be.
the LIS Field obviously has people with strong feelings about neutrality and about preservation. The difference is in intensity, but both are needed, intelligence and passion, to protect LIS. The very fact that such strong feelings, either free flowing or reserved and logical, is a great reason to be in LIS. It is a thriving, thrilling field. I doubt anyone involved will get bored.