Says Nat Hentoff:
A bitter, months-long dispute within the American Library Association — the largest nation-based organization of librarians in the world — continues as to whether to demand that Fidel Castro release 10 imprisoned independent librarians found guilty of making available to Cubans copies of George Orwell’s 1984 and the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights.
Along with 65 other Cuban dissenters, the ”subversive” librarians were sentenced to 20 or more years in Castro’s gulag. Some urgently need medical attention, which they’re not receiving.
At the ALA’s annual midwinter meeting this month in San Diego, Karen Schneider, a member of the ALA’s governing council, wanted to amend a final report on the meeting to call for their immediate release. In proposing her amendment, Schneider told her colleagues that Castro’s police had confiscated and burned books and other materials at the independent libraries.
The amendment was overwhelmingly defeated by the 182-member council. The report was swept through by a raising of hands.
From Sept. 25 to Oct. 2, libraries across this country will invite their communities to the annual Banned Books Week, decrying censorship. I’ve spoken, by invitation, during those weeks at libraries around the country. Will any library invite me this year to talk about the burning of library books in Cuba?…
If you haven’t been following this story, read the whole thing here. It’s not pretty.