A librarian on PATRIOT

A Cal State librarian intern has written a stirring op-ed for the LA Times about the way that the PATRIOT Act forces librarians to act in a way that betrays their calling.

An elderly woman approached the reference desk recently to ask for help in finding a novel. My impression was that neither her vision nor her legs were up to the task of the search, so I retrieved the book for her from the large-print section. While I was thus engaged, my patron was busy reading the placard that the library where I intern has placed at the reference desk. Its purpose is to inform patrons about the USA Patriot Act [the law passed after the Sept. 11 attacks to expand the government's surveillance powers in terrorist investigations]. It took her a while to absorb the meaning before she spoke.

She said: "What does this mean? This is like the Red Scare. You surely aren't going to participate in this, are you? I have lived a long time, and never thought I would see this happen again."

With that she departed.



(Thanks, Zed!)