Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: Somewhere* it's National Library Week

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  • Graeme Edgeler,

    As ever, this is much longer than I thought it was going to be :-)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Dan Salmon,

    I'd read about the how to beat your children manual and vaguely supported the idea of banning it, but you've reminded me why that's a bad idea. The only downside is that we've had to pay for that book - consequently supporting the authors. I guess it would be wrong to suggest the library steals morally reprehensible books.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 39 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Book 'em, Danno...

    As ever, this is much longer than I thought it was going to be :-)

    In keeping with the prevailing ANZAC spirit it is always 'a long long way to Tipperary'...

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a1/AlbertFarrington-ItsaLongLongWaytoTipperary1915a.ogg

    here's a couple or so links that may be relevant:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11422274

    Fears the e-book revolution would mean the end of libraries were far from being realised, says Tauranga City Council's libraries' manager.

    http://educators.co.nz/story/teachers-left-fend-themselves-national-library-cuts-lending-kiwi-schools/

    The National Library of New Zealand, which lends books and resources to schools across New Zealand, is changing its services to Schools programme ‘in reponse to library and education directions’.
    It means student access to specialist non-fiction National Library books will be cut, and teachers who order books for specialist topic studies will no longer be able to do so.

    Noooo! - but then a coupla months later - this:
    http://educators.co.nz/story/national-library-does-about-face-services-schools-cuts/

    National Librarian Bill Macnaught says he changes to the 60 year-old service will be phased in over three years, with the aim of getting more books into the hands of students and supporting online learning in schools.
    Macnaught says, “Following discussions with people in the education sector I have decided to extend the current service to the end of the 2015 school year while we roll out changes gradually.
    “Teachers and school librarians will still be able to request loans based on curriculum topics until the end of the year,” he says.

    Hmm slightly better, but....

    and I have in the past been shocked at some of the books sold by libraries, stuff that should still be publicly accessible - gone for a song (or less) - I also believe they need to keep hard copy and electronic versions - I still believe the proprietary electronic media environment and culture is an evolutionary dead end, retrieval of information needs to be simple and books are as simple as it gets.

    Also, I have heard that the earthquake damaged National Library building in Chchch was demolished with all the books and photo collections etc still there - disappearing as salvage to a demolition firm - I'm hoping that that isn't true, but some really dubious and egregious shit happened in Chchch in the aftermath does anyone here know what happened to all that material?
    These were to all intents and purposes National Taonga!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • Chopper,

    Great post. And yes, the Statement on Intellectual Freedom is wonderful :-)

    Since Jul 2008 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Darlington,

    This librarian thanks you for getting what it is we do. If a book's being borrowed by our patrons and our distribution of it doesn't breach OFLC rulings, feel free to berate us for purchasing it, but keep in mind we don't give a shit, and can't if we want to maintain some professional self-respect.

    Since Nov 2006 • 56 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis, in reply to Dan Salmon,

    I’d read about the how to beat your children manual and vaguely supported the idea of banning i

    Its often said the 'Most popular instrument in folk music is the Off Switch'

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Also, I have heard that the earthquake damaged National Library building in Chchch was demolished with all the books and photo collections etc still there

    The story is here, and far more interesting than you would think
    300 Manchester St

    But it appears that despite the red sticker they were able to retrieve the collection

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • A C Young,

    I definitely don't support banning books or even getting rid of them.

    I do wonder about books with misinformation which could damage people.

    I am thinking here about the recent flap in Australia about the paleo children's cookbook which, if the nutritional advice is followed, could potentially cause well-meaning parents to do serious damage to infants.

    Wellington • Since Feb 2011 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Pete Sime, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    and I have in the past been shocked at some of the books sold by libraries, stuff that should still be publicly accessible – gone for a song (or less)

    I'm a librarian working in collection management. Standard practice is to have a disposal policy as part of a collection development policy. There's an email list that NZ librarians often use to post lists of items that are for disposal, in case any other libraries want those copies. Space is limited and there are better sources of information than holding on to that 1993 set of Encyclopedia Britannica. The number one rule of libraries is that books are for use, if they're not being used then a library is no longer a library, but a museum of books - where they are appreciated as objects, but not for the information they contain.

    In public libraries in particular, if no other institution wants a book and they can't be sold at a library sale or given to the Lions or other organisation for a community book sale, often they end up being pulped because that space is far too valuable. Academic libraries in particular must focus on the needs of their users. I remember taking your position, Ian, when I was a history student at Vic and there was a huge deselection project under way. But it was a hoarder's mentality. I was asking what if someone needs these books? instead of are they being used?. Now that I'm a librarian, I find I take a very workmanlike attitude to books in this job.

    And yes, I totally agree with Auckland Libraries' position. If a member of the public wants a title banned, then go to the OFLC.

    Dunedin • Since Apr 2008 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Do the Auckland Libraries hold a copy of the Anarchist Cookbook? If not, why not? It doesn't appear to be an "illegal" book in this country (you can buy it off Fish Pond), and it has the arguable benefit of historical value as well as being an instruction manual.

    To Train up a Child is advocating illegal activity. It instructs the reader to assault their children, which is explicitly against NZ law.

    I don't want the book banned, or censored, but I definitely question whether an instruction manual on how to get convicted for child assault belongs within the public library system. By all means house it amongst other sociology books within a tertiary library system, but there's something that makes me twitch about it being "endorsed" by ratepayers; and don't try to tell me that nobody considers the presence of a book within a library system to be an endorsement of the book.

    For all the high-minded ideals of open information, there comes a point where telling people to break the law (not just how to) enters into very murky territory.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Pete Sime, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Do the Auckland Libraries hold a copy of the Anarchist Cookbook?

    The Anarchist Cookbook was banned by the Office of Film and Literature Classification as unconditionally indecent in 1994.

    Dunedin • Since Apr 2008 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    don’t try to tell me that nobody considers the presence of a book within a library system to be an endorsement of the book

    I'm sure many do, but they're wrong. The (US) ALA says: The presence of books and other resources in a library does not indicate endorsement of their contents by the library. LIANZ say: No information resources should be excluded from libraries because of the opinions they
    express
    .

    It's a fundamental ethic of the library profession.

    As an example, the Auckland libraries have various versions of Mein Kampf. This is not an endorsement of nazism.

    (I can't link their catalogue, because there's a vbar in the URL. Ironic, somehow)

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Steve Curtis,

    But it appears that despite the red sticker they were able to retrieve the collection

    Phew - thank <insert preferred deity> for that...
    (ta Steve, one less apocryphal regret to carry about, at this rate I could go 'clear' in a decade or two...)

    I do know the demo guys got all the Asian Warehouse's stock...

    and I remember playing on that site when it was being built as a car yard and showroom.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Pete Sime,

    The Anarchist Cookbook was banned by the Office of Film and Literature Classification as unconditionally indecent in 1994.

    Interesting. It's apparently also available through UBS. I'm concerned that such a major outlet apparently carries a banned book.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Pete Sime,

    Tome it may concern...

    But it was a hoarder’s mentality. I was asking what if someone needs these books? instead of are they being used?

    Ta for that Pete - and I do confess to being a default 'book orphanage' / hoarder - something that has been useful to various folk in this parish, often with books that not many others would have found useful,
    But I feel that most library users are shelf browsers, the mysteries extant in 'The Stack' will ever remain thus and sadly then be seen as not 'used' - much the same as many 'collections' (of both books and papers) where one can never easily find out what is in there, but can't browse and must know a specific item to ask for - which to my way of thinking hobbles the whole process of retrieval or potential use.

    I also have a problem with the Library of Congress classification system as it seems to be down to the whim of individual librarians as to what goes where - at the CPIT library I can find books on Yoga in health and fitness/medicine areas, philosophy, and I think anthropology and recreation - I find this confusing and irritating - though I can see why they may have made those choices, they are not clear cut or intuitive (well to me).

    We need a Tardis for a library!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    No information resources should be excluded from libraries because of the opinions they express.

    "Beating children is good for them" is an opinion.
    "Beat your child using xyz implement when they do abc" is not an opinion, it's an instruction. There's a difference.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Pete Sime,

    However, I'm sure there are a plethora of textbooks on explosives chemistry and engineering available to anyone who wants to order them.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    also available through UBS.

    Gee that's where I got all my 'Underground Comix' back in the day in Chchch (and the other Uni towns) - there and Resistance and sometimes at Printed Matter Bookshop in Plimmer's Emporium (wgton) - sadly rising damp and mould in the garage they were stored in rendered them all into colourful (and possibly still illegal) top soil.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    There is the debate on whether the book should be banned. On free speech issues generally, and censorship issues more specifically, I am about as staunchly in favour of freedom of expression as it is possible to be. I am not sure there is any text I would censor, in the way we use that word in New Zealand. Lots of expression is illegal, but far less is censored. I agree that death threats should be illegal, but they aren’t censored: it’s not illegal to possess a written death threat, in the sense that it is illegal to possess Postal 2: Share The Pain, A Guide to Growing Marijuana in Cool Climates, Critic Te Arohi 23 of 2005, or an image of child sexual exploitation.

    But that’s not a discussion about the role of libraries, that's a discussion of the proper test Parliament should set for the Censor to apply when considering banning material.

    The Wellington Central Public Library is known to have both Mein Kampf and The Communist Manifesto in its catalogue. Could the real reason, for people killing other people after reading a book, be functional illiteracy and gullibility in wider society?

    Are the sort of people who read To Train Up A Child already religious fundies before reading it, and reading it merely justifies their dogma?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    the proper test Parliament should set for the Censor to apply when considering banning material

    How about: "was anyone harmed who wasn't a willing, adult, participant".

    Seems like enough to me, and it intrinsically cuts out anything textual or drawn.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Anti-PC gone mad strikes again. (via Grauniad)

    Sherman Alexie novel tops list of books Americans want censored

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Meanwhile a chunk of NZ's - and Austalia's - cultural heritage is being frittered away on eBay.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    captured photons escape...

    Meanwhile a chunk of NZ’s – and Austalia’s – cultural heritage is being frittered away on eBay.

    Imagine my surprise - that 'deal' was never going to end well, one way or the other,.
    Getting rid of originals or hard copies in favour of ephemeral proprietary electronic retrieval methods is just drinking the Great Corporations Kool-Aid (even Bill Gates Corbis* collection - including the Bettman Archive - has all their originals (negs and photos - and servers) all stored in a refrigerated storage facility deep inside Iron Mountain in the US , and a mirror site in France)
    I have books and photos over a 100 years old but none of my earliest 'digital' files or hard drives remain extant or viable.
    Paul Thompson said it would all be okay, hah! He was elevated to 'change manager' at Fairfax, and did just that - I now have serious worries about Radio NZ...

    do we know if they sold the negs as well?

    * "Corbis" is Latin for "wicker basket" at least Gates has all his eggs in two baskets...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    I have a lazergraphics film recorder, sitting in the next room. I can take your digital back to emulsion film negatives (or positives) It's operated on windows XP, but if you have an old Apple running under os 8.5, that will also do. You get 4k output resolution, which is as big as King Kong.

    That's only good for 35mm stock but, I'm sorry to say. stop

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4316 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    We need a Tardis for a library!

    It’s called the Internet.

    ETA:

    I have books and photos over a 100 years old but none of my earliest ‘digital’ files or hard drives remain extant or viable.

    There's not much left on papyrus either....

    We've got better at backing stuff up digitally. In only a few decades, rather than thousands of years. Of course it's not exactly the same. But it's a whole lot better than nothing at all, which is what pulped books are to their unpulped form.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

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