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In our first episode of the Princh Library Lounge our host Vicky Woolbarn talks with Jane Cowell and Nick Poole about library neutrality and how it plays a part in the day to day of libraries. Our guests are Jane Cowell, Chief Executive Officer at Yarra Plenty Regional library in Australia and Nick Poole, Chief Executive Officer at Charted Institute of library and information professionals (CILIP) in the UK. Check out this episode to hear all the great insights they shared with us!

Summary

What is library neutrality in today’s world? Should libraries remain neutral, how can this be done or are they even neutral to begin with?

To explore this topic, we have asked Jane Cowell and Nick Poole to join us for a discussion. Through their expertise and experience in the world of libraries, our guests gave us insights on what it means for a library to be neutral, or if it is even possible for one to be neutral.

The Princh Library Lounge is hosted by Vicky Woolbarn, a Library Innovation Specialist at Princh. Below is a short summary of the different insights our guests provided us. Check out the first episode to hear the great discussion we had!

Can libraries be neutral? And what does the term ’library neutrality’ mean for our guests?

Jane starts the discussion by saying that libraries certainly need to be neutral from a political point of view, as they cannot advocate for one party or another. All they can do is provide fact-based information, so from this people themselves can choose. However, in the case of social issues, it is quite the opposite as libraries cannot be neutral. Jane believes libraries should play an activist role in social inclusion.

Nick’s perspective is that what libraries offer cannot be considered neutral, to begin with. The values that libraries represent play an activist role both politically and socially.

To learn more about their thoughts on whether libraries are neutral or not listen to the Princh Library Lounge Episode 1.

What is it that libraries can do to actively take part in social inclusion?

Jane adds that there are many ways a library can play a role in social inclusion. One of the roles of libraries is to educate people. Furthermore, educate them about refugees, non-traditional families and more. She thinks libraries are well-positioned to fight against racism, discrimination and fear.

Nick views libraries as a place for universality and equality. In libraries, everybody’s voice is heard, everybody’s story gets told and everybody feels safe and empowered. He agrees with Jane, that since libraries are a safe place, people reconcile within them and are more open to learn about those who they initially feared.