Emily Knox speaks at the Midwinter President’s Program

At the 2018 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Denver, American Library Association (ALA) President Jim Neal’s program provided a commentary and conversation on the question of libraries as neutral organizations and librarianship as a neutral profession. This popular session featured a debate with two speakers in favor of neutrality, two speakers against neutrality, and a panel of four speakers reacting to the debaters. Their remarks have been edited here for clarity and space; their full remarks are linked when available. Watch the full program video on the Midwinter Scheduler.

The Moderator

Jim NealALA President Jim Neal

Are libraries neutral? Have they ever been? Should they be? Can libraries be neutral as part of societies and systems that are not neutral? Are libraries, through their processes, their practices, their collections and technologies, able to be neutral?

ALA has long advocated for certain principles, detailed…

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