Librarians as GUARANTEER of continued free access to information.
The gates don’t stay open by themselves. There is a philosophy *behind* free access, one that has dominated the ‘net but it’s not necessarily a guarantee. Example: China.
Something most of us never learn about Librarians: There is a creed.
“The creed of a librarian: No politics, no religion, no morals”
A very short book written years ago for librarians puts it plainly. That’s the title. You don’t need to read the book (13 pages long) to understand its point. It is one of the guiding principles behind the REASON *why* the Internet today is free; why we have public forums where we can discuss things.
No politics. No religion. No Morals.
That allows the gates to stay open for freedom of information to continue, uninhibited; this very philosophy of the librarian.
Librarians don’t need to categorize or organize knowledge or control the flow; that’s just a byproduct of having to make it easier when all we had were books and such. But the Internet does away with the Dewey Decimal System and Library of Congress subject headings; The internet is a better way.
One day, perhaps libraries will disappear. Computers will successfully categorize and organize knowledge automatically, removing the need for human classification systems (beyond those set by the programmers).
But somebody needs to have the right outlook to be sure it continues, lest a politician, or someone with a particular worldview decides that they have “a better way” for society. We don’t normally think of a Librarian’s attitude towards knowledge as Activism but they are Activists. A single politician trying to control future education who becomes popular is all it would take for access to free speech/thought/discussion/knowledge to end. Librarians have fought to keep controversial books on the shelves in children’s libraries, only to have them removed by political forces of democracy / popularity.