Wayne Bivens-Tatum on Librarians and “Traditional Cultural Expressions”
There is a hot issue in librarianship that I think has great significance in terms of how society and the institution of libraries is changing. The issue is how the profession will deal with claims by native cultural groups who desire that their cultural works, documents, and artifacts be kept in public libraries, but with special access restrictions that respect their cultural traditions. ALA Council is presently debating a policy document on these “traditional cultural expressions” (TCE’s), but the topic needs attention from theorists who can see the issue for what it is: a site of postmodern, multicultural challenge to to the European Enlightenment foundations of librarianship and, and the changing reality of the public sphere.
I asked Wayne Bivens-Tatum, who is working on a book for Library Juice Press about the Enlightenment foundations of librarianship, for his take on the ALA’s draft TCE document, and he posted his thoughts on it today.