Readers write: Institutions versus professionals, cover to cover, helping girls

Letters to the editor for the April 10, 2017 weekly magazine.

Andy Nelson/The Register-Guard/AP
In this Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017 photo, Jess Wood reads 'The Little Engine that Could' to her daughter, Wynn Wood, 2, at the Eugene Public Library in Eugene., Ore.

Institutions versus professionals

Regarding the Feb. 15 article “The fight against fake news is putting librarians on the front line – and they say they’re ready” ( I think it’s worth making a distinction between libraries as operating institutions and librarians as professionals. The public library where I work – I’m a reference librarian – is not very political. And if you ask me a question, I’m not going to give you a partisan answer because I’m acting as an agent of a government institution. 

But when I’m acting as an individual, such as when I attend American Library Association conferences or do work for ALA divisions and committees, it’s no more unusual for me to be political about library-related issues or issues in which libraries are representative of their constituents than it is for a doctor to advocate laws relating to public health. My library has neither a mandate nor the lobbyists to influence legislation; the ALA has both, and the same could be said for the state library associations.

M. Alan Thomas

Addison, Ill.

Cover to cover

I have just finished enjoying the March 20 issue. The People Making a Difference article on the Nem Adom Fel Foundation was heartwarming and very interesting. Also, the cover story, “A pole apart,” was fascinating. I must also mention Sue Wunder’s fun piece, “Gratitude in an age of automatons,” on the Home Forum page. Thanks to everyone for such outstanding work.

Karen J. Leitz

Colorado Springs, Colo.

Helping girls

Regarding the March 27 People Making a Difference article “So girls don’t have to stay home”: Julie Phippen is an amazing person, and I am so pleased that her hard work creating menstrual supplies for women in developing regions has been brought to people’s attention. A menstrual cycle should not hold anyone back.

Deb Spitzley


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