Archive/File: bibliographies/biblio.20a Last-Modified: 2001/02/13 Archival Note: In reformatting this document, which was provided by one of the authors, I may have inadvertantly scrambled research data. (I don't _think_ I did, but anything's possible...) - if in doubt, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, the first co-author in the list below. Ken McVay, September 4, 1994. This research project has been published in a slightly different format in Public & Access Services Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 1 (1995), 5-40, and is copyright 1995 by (http://www.haworthpressinc.com/) Haworth Press. Permission for it to appear on the Nizkor Project server(s) has been granted by the senior author, (http://www.york.cuny.edu/~drobnick/) John A. Drobnicki. Please contact Professor Drobnicki with any questions regarding copyright and/or reprinting. (email@example.com) === What next? Do we burn the books? Or have we forgotten the lessons of 50 years ago, that where they would burn books, they would soon burn people. Elli Wohlgelernter Editor, B'nai B'rith Messenger ABSTRACT This study was undertaken to learn about public librarians' attitudes and opinions concerning the sometimes conflicting issues of intellectual freedom, collection balance, and personally-distasteful materials. The investigation focused on Holocaust-denial literature, a body of work which tries to dispute or deny outright the historical reality of the Holocaust. This subject was presumed by the investigators to be more offensive than other controversial topics, and it was hypothesized that issues such as the ethnic composition of the community and concern for accuracy would significantly affect the results. Surveys were sent to two hundred administrators and adult-services librarians in the Nassau County Library System, which was chosen for the ethnic and economic diversity of its communities. The results, while ambiguous in some areas, indicate that librarians are more open to Holocaust-revisionist literature than had been predicted and, regardless of outside pressures, would acquire and provide ready access to this mate- rial in their libraries. CHAPTER I THE PROBLEM Introduction It is a common axiom that each generation interprets the past from its own point of view; that is, what was once the standard interpretation of a historical event may become discredited. This process, known as historical revision, is a legitimate practice. First, as historians delve deeper into the past and as heretofore unknown documents are discovered, different and/or expanded interpretations based on these newly disclosed facts may emerge. Second, interpretations of historical facts are likely to change as authors become more chronologically detached from the events about which they are writing. Scholarly revision, according to William H. Chafe of Duke University, "is not concerned with the actuality of events, but only with interpretations of their causes and consequences." In late 1991 and early 1992, students at several univer- sities in the United States found a controversial advertise- ment in their campus newspapers: the ad, written by Bradley R. Smith, was placed by the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust and asserted that no Jews had been gassed in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. The ensuing media coverage may have been the first occasion on which many people heard the term Holocaust Revisionism. Librarians and other scholars, however, have known about Holocaust-revisionist material for years. For example, due to the sale, in 1980, of the Organization of American Historians' mailing list, every member of the OAH received a complimentary copy of the inaugu- ral issue of the Journal of Historical Review, which pro- claimed the Holocaust to be a hoax. Definition of Terms What Is Holocaust Revisionism? According to librarian Jeffrey Katz of the Queens Borough Public Library, Holocaust revisionists deny flatly that a plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe ever existed and attempt to "prove" that concentration camps, gas chambers, and the entire concept of genocide was just one huge "hoax" concocted by "Zionists" and their cohorts, in order to discredit Germany and advance their own (naturally greedy) causes. Rather than interpreting the causes and consequences of events, revisionists, in the words of historian Richard C. Lukas, "seem to want history published in loose-leaf pages so they can extract what they dislike and substitute their own mythical version of history." The present researchers will use the terms Holocaust revisionism and Holocaust-denial interchangeably. While different revisionist authors make different claims, they all espouse at least one common belief: there was no attempt to exterminate the Jews of Europe during World War II. Although some authors who negate the Holocaust (a word they always spell with a lowercase h and pejoratively enclose in quotation marks) acknowledge a special German harshness toward Jews during the Second World War, they all claim that Jews who died did so from disease, hunger, or other war-related causes, not, for example, from Zyklon B gas, which they say was used only to delouse clothing. They all claim that the Holocaust is a fraud perpetrated by Jews in their quest not only for a homeland, but also for world power. For examples of Holocaust-denial literature, the reader is directed to any of the books cited in Appendix 1 of this paper. Other Key Definitions By Holocaust, which is also known by the Hebrew word Shoah, the researchers mean the deliberate murder of between five and six million European Jews by Nazi Germany and its allies during the Second World War. Since Holocaust revision- ists concentrate on trying to disprove the deaths of those Jews, the researchers will use the term Holocaust to refer solely to the Jewish tragedy, although it is recognized that other peoples died at the hands of the Nazis as well. It is not the intent of this paper's authors to demean the suffering of Gypsies, homosexuals, the disabled, and Poles and other Slavs, but since the revisionists deal almost exclusively with Jews when they write about the Holocaust, the researchers will follow suit. Standard interpretation as used in this paper with regard to the history of the Holocaust will refer to the beliefs of authors who have chronicled and acknowledged the authenticity of the Jewish Holocaust. By referring to those authors, whom the revisionists label "exterminationists," as "standard," the present writers are in no way passing judgment on the merits of their work, but rather reflecting the popular belief that the interpretation offered by Raul Hilberg, Lucy Dawidowicz et al. seems to be the one that the overwhelming majority of the public and scholarly community share. The term access, as used in this paper, will mean: 1. The physical placement of library materials. 2. The subject headings assigned to library materials. 3. The classification number assigned to library materials. Acquisition will mean the purchase of, and/or acceptance as gifts of, library materials. Controversial will be used to refer to materials that have provoked, or have the potential to provoke, protests from library clients or other members of the public. Referring to them as controversial is in no way an attempt by the researchers to condemn or endorse the con- tents of these materials. The Problem of Revisionist Materials and Libraries The largest distributor of Holocaust-denial literature in the United States is the Institute for Historical Review (IHR) through its subsidiary, Noontide Press, headquartered in Torrance, California. Both are under the institutional control of the ultra-right-wing Liberty Lobby, run by Willis A. Carto, "the leading anti-Semitic propagandist in the United States," according to the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, and have ties to Neo-Nazi groups in the United States and abroad. The IHR/Noontide Press publishes the aforementioned Journal of Historical Review, as well as many books, pam- phlets, and audio- and videocassettes, including what is considered to be the most famous Holocaust-revisionist book, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, by Arthur R. Butz, a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Northwestern Universi- ty. Although IHR/Noontide Press publishes revisionist works on subjects other than the Holocaust, it is most famous for producing materials on the latter topic. The reader will find some IHR Holocaust titles cited in Appendix 1 of this paper. Librarians' Professional Guidelines Few, if any, librarians would question the right of authors to write and publish Holocaust-denial materials, nor would they question the right of persons to read Holocaust- denial materials or any other items. The more problematic question librarians face, however, is the place, if any, of Holocaust-revisionist materials in public libraries. It appears that one could argue for inclusion of revi- sionist materials in libraries based on American Library Association policy statements regarding library collections. The Library Bill of Rights states that "libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues." Another ALA policy states that "access to all materials legally obtainable should be assured to the user, and policies should not unjustly exclude materials even if they are offensive to the librarian or the user." The Central Issues Pitted against these professional guidelines is the overwhelming evidence documenting the Holocaust. Serious scholars do not question the actuality of that event, and it has been shown that Holocaust-revisionist materials are based on deliberate fabrications of history. These, then, are the dilemmas that public librarians face: should they or should they not acquire material that is generally accepted to be "hate literature"? After all, they know that revisionists share the ideas of Neo-Nazi and other hate groups. Yet librarians want to develop comprehensive, balanced collections even as they struggle with dwindling financial resources. Furthermore, should public libraries subsequently make revisionist materials freely accessible to more readers, including young adults and children, who are free to examine, read, and very often borrow adult materials? Historian and Holocaust survivor Israel Gutman has expressed the concern about the effect that revisionist materials could have on young people who have not yet learned about the Shoah: It is natural that such persons [young people], hearing about the Holocaust for the first time, refuse to believe that such incredible events could have occurred. Con- sequently, those who seek to deny that such events did take place, or to discredit them in one way or another, find a ready audience. Purpose of the Present Study There are, of course, no easy answers to these questions. There are compelling arguments on both sides of the acquisitions issue, as the reader will note in chapter 2. Librarian Jeffrey Katz summed up this quandary when he wrote It cannot be denied that Holocaust-denial literature is designed to distort the truth, promote hatred, and advance a racist ideology. It also cannot be denied that free speech is, indeed, a right, and that the most fundamental ethic of the library profession is intellec- tual freedom. The problem for the librarian, therefore, is to find a way to reconcile both truths. This research project investigated the extent to which public librarians believe those two truths should be reconciled. It asked librarians whether or not public libraries should acquire Holocaust-denial literature, and, if a library does, how it should be cataloged and classified and where it should be housed. It is hoped that the results will be able to assist those making collection-development policies and cataloging/classification decisions regarding Holocaust-revisionist materials. To the knowledge of the present researchers, no surveys have been conducted on this topic. Assumptions Central to this research project is the assumption that Holocaust-denial literature is considered to be "controversial material" by most public librarians and in most public libraries. The authors of this study also assume that research and academic libraries will collect many controversial materials because of the mission of these libraries: to support and advance scholarly endeavors. Thus, the present authors believe that Holocaust-denial literature represents more of a controversy, both actually and potentially, in public libraries, because they serve a diverse clientele and because they are very often held accountable by the public because they are funded by public money. The present researchers also assume that public libraries as a matter of policy do not, and cannot, acquire every item that is published. It is also recognized by the investigators that serious scholars do not question the actuality of the Jewish Holocaust, which has been documented by testimonies of the perpetrators, their allies, and their victims. It is also assumed by the researchers that Noontide Press and other revisionist publishers actively send catalogs and other advertisements to public librarians and libraries, as do other publishers. Indeed, one of the present investigators received unsolicited brochures from Noontide Press in the past, but it could not be determined how the publisher obtained the name and address, for the investigator belongs to both library-related and historical rganizations (but not the OAH). Hypotheses Many good arguments have been made both for and against the inclusion of Holocaust-revisionist materials in public library collections. It is easy to say that one is in favor of intellectual freedom, but when one is confronted with deliberate fabrications of the historical record, the decision whether or not to acquire them becomes more complex. The question of access to adult materials by children and young adults also adds to the complexities, as these books may be the first ones that they have ever read on the Holocaust. The present researchers tested the following hypotheses regarding the attitudes of public librarians toward Holocaust revisionism: 1. Public librarians will oppose the inclusion of Holo- caust-denial literature in public libraries unless there are some forms of restrictions to its access. 2. The ethnic and religious composition of the community served by the public library will play a role in the librarians' decisions whether or not to acquire Holocaust-revisionist materials. 3. Public librarians will be less receptive to acquiring Holocaust-revisionist literature than other contro- versial materials. The investigators believed that the most effective way to test these hypotheses would be via a confidential questionnaire. Limitations of the Present Study The present authors investigated the attitudes of public adult-services librarians. In examining Holocaust-denial materials first-hand, it was determined by the researchers that the literature was overwhelmingly directed toward adults, including college students. It was therefore decided to exclude children's, young adult, and school media librarians from the population to be studied. Because of the assumption that academic and research libraries will collect more controversial materials than public libraries, it was further decided to exclude academic and special librarians from the population to be studied. Outline of the Research Project Chapter 2 contains a more thorough overview of the history and background of Holocaust revisionism, and it also details how libraries have handled other types of controversial materials in the past. Chapter 3 outlines the methodology used in testing the aforementioned hypotheses. Chapter 4 presents, analyzes, and evaluates the data collected by the researchers. Chapter 5 contains a summary, conclusion, and suggestions for further research regarding Holocaust-revisionist materials. CHAPTER II REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE Introduction Librarians have always been faced with a dilemma regarding controversial materials. They strive to present all sides of all issues and differing viewpoints and interpretations of historical events, which often leads to complaints and criticisms. Usually, however, controversial materials have some redeeming qualities, such as Catcher in the Rye, a modern classic American novel. Some materials, on the other hand, are so objectionable and elicit such strong condemnation that the librarian might be hard-pressed to justify their inclusion in a public library collection. Pornography is an example, and Holocaust revisionism may be considered another. Holocaust revisionism, which has been described by one historian as "historical charlatanism," is based on deliberate distortions of the historical record. These revisionist writings offend not only Jews and Holocaust survivors, but also anyone who believes that it is the historian's job to record and interpret the past as it actually happened. Adding such material to a public library collection requires a strong commitment to intellectual freedom on the librarian's part, and he/she must be prepared to defend that action against the almost certain criticism that will follow. Recent Historical Background Since the end of the Second World War, there have been people who have denied that there was a systematic attempt by Nazi Germany to exterminate European Jewry. Indeed, during the war, the Nazis themselves began the process of revisionism, for they used euphemistic terms for what they were doing, such as the "Final Solution to the Jewish Problem" and denied that they were engaging in genocide. Holocaust revisionists have different motives for their work, according to historian Israel Gutman, but they seem to share deep seated anti-Semitic feelings and hatred of Israel. Gutman also believes that some revisionists have such hatred of Communism that they have instead moved to the far right, embracing fascism and seeking to glorify the Nazis, who were among the most vocal critics and opponents of Communism. Communism, in turn, has stereotypically been associated with Jews. The Noontide Press catalog contains not only Holocaust-revisionist materials, but also books glorifying the SS and the Nazis and attacking Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Revisionism has maintained a high profile in the news during the past decade in part because of several high-profile court cases. For example, in December, 1980 Robert M. Faurisson, of the University of Lyon in France, stated on French radio that the Holocaust was a hoax perpetrated by Zionists. He subsequently was tried, fined, and convicted by the French government for racial defamation. Faurisson has continued to write and publish actively, has spoken at annual conferences sponsored by the Institute for Historical Review, and has faced additional criminal charges in France. Another French case aroused media attention as well. In 1985, the University of Nantes granted a doctoral degree to Henri Roques, whose revisionist dissertation had previously been rejected by the University of Paris. The furor in the French press led the Minister of Higher Education to revoke the degree. Two trials in Canada concerned a Social Studies teacher, Jim Keegstra, and a book publisher and distributor, Ernst Zundel. Zundel, author of The Hitler We Loved and Why, had been distributing revisionist and Neo-Nazi publications for nearly two decades before being convicted in both 1985 and 1988 of publishing "false news." Keegstra, who taught Holocaust revisionism in his classes, was convicted in 1985 of violating Canada's law prohibiting promotion of racial hatred. His conviction was overturned in 1988 when Alberta's Court of Appeals declared that law unconstitutional. Unlike France and Canada, the United States is much more tolerant in its interpretation of free speech, so there have been no prominent cases similar to Faurisson et al. Arthur R. Butz was not disciplined by Northwestern University for writing The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, in part because he teaches electrical engineering rather than history. Indeed, when knowledge of Butz's book was made public, Northwestern's provost, Raymond W. Mack, was quoted in the New York Times as saying that it was an academic freedom issue. The provost further stated, according to the Times, that "it is a right available to any citizen of the United States under the First Amendment," although he acknowledged that "it is a shame when that right is used to insult survivors of concentration camps." At the beginning of Robert Faurisson's legal troubles, Noam Chomsky, noted Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote a brief defense of Faurisson's right to free speech, which was later used as an introduction to Faurisson's second book. The most widely publicized cases in the United States involved David McCalden. In 1979 McCalden, at that time known as Lewis Brandon and who was director of the Institute for Historical Review, offered a $50,000 reward to anyone who could prove that Jews had been gassed to death in Nazi concentration camps. Holocaust survivor Mel Mermelstein, whose entire family perished at Auschwitz, came forward with his proof, and when the IHR stalled, Mermelstein filed suit against the organization. The lawsuit was settled in 1985 with the IHR having to pay Mermelstein $90,000 and having to issue an apology to him and other Holocaust survivors for claiming that it was a hoax. Mermelstein also won a suit in 1986 against revisionist Ditlieb Felderer of Sweden; in 1988 he filed a lawsuit against Willis A. Carto. After breaking with Carto and the IHR, Brandon-McCalden founded an organization called Truth Missions. When his request to display his books during Banned Books Week was denied by the Torrance (California) Public Library, McCalden was invited by the California Library Association in 1984 to operate a booth and participate in a presentation at its annual conference. The uproar by both politicians and the press when this became public led the CLA to cancel McCalden's exhibit and program, and McCalden then threatened to sue the association. Holocaust revisionism has also received press coverage during the past several years due to right-wing and ultra-conservative politicians who either endorse it or have shown sympathy toward its arguments. Jean-Marie Le Pen of France's National Front, Patrick J. Buchanan, and David Duke are some of the politians who have been accused of being either outright or covert revisionists. The parent organization of the IHR, Liberty Lobby, also publishes a weekly tabloid in Washington, DC, called the Spotlight, which has interviewed, and carried articles by, conservative members of Congress promoting the Right's views on political and social issues at the same time that it was printing articles denying the authenticity of the Jewish Holocaust. Controversial Materials in Libraries The question as to how public libraries should handle Holocaust-denial literature has not been discussed extensively in the literature. Several survey projects have been done regarding controversial materials in school and public libraries, but what are considered "controversial" in these studies are books that contain profanity, explicit sexual passages, or other characteristics, such as graphic violence, considered inappropriate for children or young adults. In short, these surveys deal with J.D. Salinger and Kurt Vonnegut, not, for example, Arthur Butz. These studies have shown that secondary-school students in school media centers believe that their materials should not be censored; that the number of reviews a book has received determines a book's inclusion in libraries; that potentially controversial materials, surprisingly, did not require more favorable reviews than other books before they were included in libraries; and that sexuality and family values formed the two most frequent bases of complaint about books in school library media centers. Two surveys performed to determine whether or not the Moral Majority's claim that libraries discriminate against conservatives by not purchasing conservative books found this to be an exaggeration in the cases of four Georgia and five Toronto libraries. Arguments Made Against Revisionist Materials in Libraries Several authors have discussed the question of Holocaust- revisionist materials in libraries, although no extensive studies of librarian attitudes have been found by the present researchers. The most common complaint voiced against Holocaust-denial material is that it is hate literature. Revisionist authors have been shown to have Neo-Nazi sympathies, are apologists for Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, and attack and seek to undermine Israel. The claim that the Holocaust is a hoax, therefore, accuses Jews, and everyone else who believes in the genuineness of the Shoah, of being liars. Morton Weinfeld gave expression to this when he wrote unequivocably that "it [Holocaust revisionism] serves clearly to promote hatred of Jews, as well as to defame them." Weinfeld has also used the analogy that libraries do not collect hardcore pornography because the decision has been made that it has no literary value. Similarly, libraries cannot be blamed for making that decision regarding revisionist literature. Add to this the factor of diminishing financial resources for public libraries, and for libraries in general, and the point raised about spending money on historical fabrications when other materials can be purchased with that money seems appealing. Arguments Made in Favor of Revisionist Materials in Libraries Vincent Richards, former president of the Library Association of Alberta, Canada, is one of the few librarians to have defended in print the presence of Holocaust-denial materials in libraries. He has made the point that other books in the library, especially in large collections, will combat the ideas of the revisionists without having to censor them. An even more passionate defender of free speech, John C. Swan, has argued that librarians have a "basic professional commitment to the flow of all kinds of information without regard to its truth or falsehood," and that the librarian's primary responsibility is access, and "access means a professional responsibility to, among other things, as much untruth as we can politically and practically manage" on the shelves. The arguments of Swan and Richards were also expressed several years earlier at the University of Toronto. When pressured by some students to reclassify several revisionist books in the library to separate them from the standard works, the Acting Chief Librarian responded: We do not make judgments about books: we simply put books of the same subject together.... If we gave in to that sort of pressure because one side didn't like something life would be impossible. The books are on the shelves so that people can read them and make up their own minds. That's the reason we're here. Solutions Offered in the Literature Several authors have expressed their distaste for revisionist material but have suggested that libraries should collect them if certain conditions can be met, ranging from labeling to special class numbers. Neither the Dewey Decimal Classification nor the Library of Congress Classification systems provide class numbers specifically for Holocaust-denial literature. Therefore, they are classed in the same location as the widely accepted histories of the Holocaust (940.53 for DDC, and D810.J4 for LCC). Placing these materials side-by-side with the "standard" works implies that these works are legitimate and gives them a "relative prominence," especially in small collections. This, however, can be countered by the statement of historian Lacey Baldwin Smith, who wrote that the only way to counter revisionist materials "is to set good scholarship against bad so that everyone can judge the evidence for himself." Several cataloging and classification solutions have been offered by those who object to the placement of revisionist material in the Holocaust-history section. One would be for DDC and LCC to establish a separate class for Holocaust-denial. It has also been suggested, since it is an example of anti-Semitic literature, that it be classified as such, as is done with the (in)famous Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Weinfeld makes the point that even "stores are not free to mislabel products." Other suggestions made using existing LC Classification range from Imposture (CT9980) to Prejudice (BF575.P9). Keeping revisionism in special, restricted collections has not only been suggested, but it has actually been implemented at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Library in Los Angeles. At that private library, the material is listed in the public catalog, although it is not on the open shelf and must be specifically requested by clients. Although there is no separate classification, LC has provided a subject heading for Holocaust-denial literature. Earlier materials were cataloged under "Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Historiography," but LCSH now provides "Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Errors, inventions, etc." as an alternative. Conclusion Unlike other controversial materials that may be included in public library collections, Holocaust revisionism is based on fabrications of history, deliberately distorting history in order to apologize for Nazi Germany and attack both Jews and Israel. While other controversial topics, such as abortion, capital punishment, and evolution excite and agitate people based on their religious, ethical, and moral principles, they cannot compare with Holocaust revisionism, which states that the Nazis did not attempt to exterminate European Jewry, that there were no gas chambers in the concentration camps, and that the Holocaust has been one big lie perpetrated by world Jewry. Holocaust-denial literature is among the most offensive and controversial material a library can own. Added to this inherent volatility is the fact that classification systems do not differentiate Holocaust revisionism from the standard histories of the Holocaust. The fear as to the effect that revisionist materials might have on children and young adults has been expressed by several authors, as has the point that libraries will be giving wider circulation and prominence to materials that most people would probably never come into contact with. The library profession, however, is devoted to the principles of intellectual freedom and the freedom to read, and fights censorship wherever and whenever it is attempted. In any library collection, there are books that present diametrically opposed interpretations of historical events, and contain materials that are now considered to be racist or sexist. Those who have defended the inclusion of Holocaust-revisionist materials in public libraries have done so not because they believe it to be true, but because they believe that libraries must be open forums for all ideas, however offensive. Unfortunately, the defense of free speech is very often confused with the defense of the content of that speech. While the library literature contains hundreds, if not thousands, of articles about censorship and intellectual freedom, librarians have not written extensively about Holocaust revisionism. A review of the literature by the present investigators has discovered no studies of librarian attitudes regarding Holocaust-denial materials and their place, if any, in public libraries. CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY The researchers conducted a survey to investigate librarians' attitudes regarding acquisition of and access to Holocaust-denial literature. The subjects were public adult-services librarians varying in age, race, and gender. Due to time constraints the researchers could not survey every librarian in the United States. Therefore, the sample population was approximately 210 public adult service librarians in Nassau County, whom the researchers considered to be representative of the libraries and librarians in the United States. Nassau County was chosen as a sample because of the various sizes of the libraries and the diverse communities they serve. The names of the adult service librarians were taken from the Directory of Long Island Libraries & Media Centers 1991. The researchers pretested the questionnaire in the Queens Borough Public Library System before testing the sample population. Interaction between the subjects and the researchers was through mail and the subjects were asked to answer the questionnaire based on their knowledge and opinions. To ensure the confidentiality of the subjects, they were requested not to provide their names or affiliations on the returned questionnaire or stamped, self-addressed envelopes that were provided. Based on the hypotheses stated in Chapter I, the researchers identified independent and dependent variables. 1. Public librarians will oppose the inclusion of Holocaust-denial literature in public libraries unless there are some forms of restrictions to its access. independent variable--some form of restrictions to its access dependent variable--librarians will oppose the inclusion of Holocaust-denial literature 2. The ethnic and religious composition of the community served by the public library will influence the librarians' decisions whether or not to acquire Holocaust-revisionist materials. independent variable--composition of the community dependent variable--librarians' decisions whether or not to acquire Holocaust-revisionist materials 3. Public librarians will be less receptive to acquiring Holocaust-revisionist literature than other contro- versial materials. independent variable--acquiring controversial materials dependent variable--librarians' attitudes Other variables that could have affected the hypotheses included individual library collection development policies; library budget; and the physical size of the library and community. The researchers found several pilot studies that applied to the research design, development of instruments, data collection techniques and characteristics of samples. The pilot studies cover various controversial materials, censorship, and intellectual freedom. The results of David Jenkinson's questionnaire, which "sought to identify who challenged what, why and with what results," was published in the Canadian Library Journal in February 1986. Jenkinson surveyed 644 public and private Manitoba schools and 73 public libraries within the province. Jenkinson developed two questionnaires, one for school libraries and one for public libraries. The results were displayed in table form within the article. In his questionnaire Jenkinson listed authors and titles of controversial materials; types of library (urban or rural), the nature of the complaints; identities of the complainants; whether or not there was a policy for handling challenges and the degree to which policy a was followed; and finally the results of the complaint. Key: NP- No policy for handling challenges, W- Written policy for handling challenges, NW- Policy for handling challenges but unwritten, 1- Policy followed not at all, 2- Policy followed minimally, 3- Policy followed some, 4- Policy followed quite a bit, 5- Policy followed fully. Barbara Immroth compiled a questionnaire that was given to a group of seventy-five Texas librarians, forty-one public librarians and thirty-four school librarians who attended workshops on censorship and selection. The questions were about selection policies, selection of controversial materials, and challenges to materials and reevaluation. On the questionnaire librarians were given a list of questions and answers from which to choose. For example: Materials in the library collection: ___ Have not been challenged, ___ Have been challenged by staff member, ___ Have been challenged by parent(s), ___ Have been challenged by Board member, ___ Have been challenged by other community member. Michael Pope conducted a study of librarians' opinions on sexually oriented literature as a dissertation for a Doctor of Philosophy degree at Rutgers University. A revision of his thesis is published as Sex & the Undecided Librarian: A Study of Librarians' Opinions on Sexually Oriented Literature. On Pope's two-part questionnaire librarians were asked how familiar they are with given category and their opinions on the acquisition of the material. Familiarity choices were: Never seen ___, 1 to 5 examples ___, 6 to 10 examples ___, Over 10 examples ___. Acquisition choices include: A. Under no conditions would I willingly have in my library. B. Only with faculty request or sufficient patron demand, keep in locked stacked, allow only adult use. C. Only with faculty request or sufficient patron demand, keep in locked stacked, anyone may use. D. Only with faculty request or sufficient patron demand, open stacks, anyone may use. E. Would initiate purchase, open stacks, anyone may use. F. Would actively seek out such material, open stacks, anyone may use. The researchers used these pilot studies as a starting point for ideas on their research design, the development of the questionnaire, and the data collection techniques. The researchers used the mail questionnaire as their data collection instrument. There were a number of advantages to using the questionnaire as well as some limitations. Some of the advantages and limitations to the questionnaire were given by Ronald R. Powell in Basic Research Methods for Librarians. Among the advantages were: the mail questionnaire tends to encourage frank answers, the characteristics of the questionnaire help to eliminate interviewer bias, quantitative data are easy to collect and analyze, large amounts of data can be collected in a short time period, and questionnaires are relatively inexpensive to administer. Limitations of the questionnaire included the following: they eliminate personal contact, they do not permit the subjects to qualify answers to ambiguous questions; and they may elicit some resistance from respondents. Due to the time constraints under which they had to complete the project the researchers felt that the mail questionnaire was the best method to use to obtain the needed results. CHAPTER IV FINDINGS: ANALYSIS AND EVALUATION Introduction In order to ascertain how public librarians feel about intellectual freedom, collection balance, and the acquisition of controversial and factually questionable materials, the investigators embarked on their project dealing with librarians' attitudes toward acquiring and providing access to Holocaust-revisionist writings, a sensitive and emotionally charged issue. The investigators chose those particular materials because such items would presumably be considered more controversial than others. The researchers wished to learn how closely and indeed whether librarians would adhere to personal convictions about the importance of accuracy in library collections, about intellectual freedom, and about the issue of collection balance versus controversy where Holocaust-revisionist items are concerned. To test the researchers' hypotheses, which are described in the next section, 200 confidential questionnaires were mailed to adult-services librarians, directors, and assistant directors in the Nassau County Public Library System. Copies of the cover letter that accompanied the questionnaire and the instrument itself, with totals for all questions, are reproduced in Appendices 3 and 4, respectively. The investigators received seventy-two responses, representing a return rate of 36%. Findings At the outset, the researchers selected certain key questions on the survey that were deemed most crucial not only to determining the respondents' attitudes toward the acquisition and placement of Holocaust-revisionist items, but also, obviously, to ascertaining which hypotheses could be proved or disproved. These questions are as follows: Question 10: A rating of selection criteria. Question 11: Should library collections present all sides of every issue? Question 12: Is it acceptable for a library to acquire materials whose factual accuracy might be in question? Question 13: A rating of controversial topics. Question 16: Would you acquire Holocaust-revision- ist materials for your library's collection? Questions 17 and 18: Ratings of factors that would influence Yes or No answers, respectively, to Question 16. Question 19: Possible subject headings for Holo- caust-revisionist items. Question 20: Where should Holocaust-revisionist materials be classified? Question 21: Where should Holocaust-revisionist materials be kept? Question 22: Evaluation of possible offensiveness of Holocaust-revisionist materials. In addition, the researchers categorized the respondents into the following population groups. There was, of course, some overlapping between groups, but this was done in order to compare and extrapolate from responses and also to note which circumstances inherent in the subgroups might have influenced answers. For example, one of these subgroups was "Clientele over 51% Jewish." Clearly, in the latter case, the researchers wished to discover how the religious and ethnic composition of a community might impact on a librarian's decision whether or not to acquire Holocaust-revisionist items. The population categories were as follows: administrators; librarians with fewer than five years experience; librarians with more than fifteen years experience; librarians reporting their clientele was over 51% European-American; librarians with more than 51% Jewish clientele; librarians whose institutions have no collection-development policy; and those who had experienced challenges to library materials in their careers. A discussion of how these populations responded to the survey appears in depth in the interpretive section of this chapter. Administrators were selected as a target population because they set policies that govern libraries, including collection-development guidelines. The investigators hoped to learn if and how administrators' responses would differ in any way or to any marked extent from non-administrators'. The investigators also wished to ascertain if length of tenure in the job or profession would influence judgments and decision making and attitudes toward acquiring controversial literature. Perhaps younger, less experienced professionals would be more open-minded; and older, more seasoned librarians would be more "set in their ways," or perhaps they would be more liberal-minded, having developed more maturity and wisdom. Obviously the researchers selected the ethnic/cultural and religious parameters named above in order to study the effects of demographics on the acquisition process. Furthermore, the investigators targeted librarians who work with a collection-development policy to compare their responses with librarians who do not, to test whether or not "collection-development librarians" have a clearer, more focused view of what materials might be acquired--and under what circumstances and for which populations served by them. Finally, the researchers wished to test whether librarians who had ever met with challenges to library materials might turn away from controversial materials or not; or, perhaps, having faced up to community displeasure, they were inured to reader pressure and more strongly determined to acquire materials that addressed all clients' concerns--even highly volatile ones. Of course, there was some overlapping among the groups. Still, these arbitrary breakdowns helped a great deal to highlight data when they were tabulated. The percentages for each question do not necessarily total 100 because some respondents did not answer every question. Table 1. Rating of Selection Criteria--All Respondents Extremely Important (%) Somewhat Important (%) Somewhat Unimportant (%) Not Important (%) Accuracy 76.4 22.2 0.0 0.0 Price 12.5 69.4 11.1 4.2 Reviews 65.3 31.9 1.4 0.0 Author's Reputation 20.8 66.7 8.3 2.8 Publisher's Reputation 5.6 44.4 34.7 6.9 Client Requests 47.2 45.8 2.8 0.0 Weakness of Collection in Subject Area 59.7 37.5 5.6 0.0 Scholarly Value of Material 23.6 52.8 18.1 2.8 Note: N=72. Question 10: Selection Criteria As Table 1 illustrates, when asked to rate a list of selection criteria--accuracy; price; reviews; author's reputation; publisher's reputation; client requests; weakness of the collection in the subject area; and scholarly value of the material, accuracy was first choice, with 76% of all respondents indicating that it was "extremely important" and 22% responding that it was "somewhat important." In addition, these criteria were valued: reviews (65%), client requests (47%), and weakness of the collection (60%). Table 2. Responses to Questions 11, 12, and 16 by all respondents YES (%) NO (%) Should library collections present all sides of every issue? 88.9 9.7 Is it acceptable for a library to acquire materials whose factual accuracy might be in question? 47.2 44.4 Would you acquire Holocaust-revisionist materials for your library's collection? 45.8 44.4 Note: N=72. Question 11: Should library collections present all sides of every issue? As Table 2 shows, an overwhelming majority (89%) of respondents answered in the affirmative to the question "Should library collections present all sides of every issue?" A very high percentage answering yes was also noted across each population category (see Table 3 and Figures 1-4). [Editor's note: No charts are provided with this ASCII copy. knm] Figure 1. Administrators' and Non-Administrators' Responses to Question 11 Note: For Administrators, N=24; for Non-Administrators, N=48. Figure 2. Responses to Question 11 Based on Years of Experience Note: For < 5 years, N=13; for > 15 years, N=39. Figure 3. Responses to Question 11 Based on Prior Experience with Challenges to Library Materials Note: For those with prior challenges, N=23; for those who never had challenges, N=39. Figure 4. Responses to Question 11 Based on Collection- Development Policies Note: For those with no CD policy, N=19; for those with a CD policy, N=53. Table 3. Responses to Questions 11, 12, and 16 by librarians whose communities are either over 51% European-American or over 51% Jewish. > 51% European-American (%) > 51% Jewish (%) Should library collections present all sides of every issue? YES 86.0 100.0 NO 14.0 0.0 Is it acceptable for a library to acquire materials whose factual accuracy might be in question? YES 50.0 50.0 NO 46.0 50.0 Would you acquire Holocaust-revisionist materials for your library's collection? YES 48.0 50.0 NO 44.0 50.0 Note: For European-American, N=50. For Jewish, N=8. Question 12: Is it acceptable for a library to acquire materials whose factual accuracy might be in question? As Table 2 also illustrates, when asked about the acceptability of acquiring factually questionable materials, yes and no responses were virtually equally matched, with 47% of all resondents answering yes and 44% answering no. The biggest difference in responses concerned librarians who had, and who never had, materials challenged. As Figure 5 shows, librarians who had materials challenged in the past had the highest percentage of yes responses (74%) and the lowest percentage of no responses (22%), while librarians who had never had materials challenged had the lowest percentage of yes responses (35%) and the highest percentage of no responses (55%). The other population subgroups were more evely divided on the question (see Table 3 and Figures 6-8). Figure 5. Responses to Question 12 Based on Prior Experience with Challenges to Library Materials Note: For those with challenges, N=23; for those with no prior challenges, N=39. Figure 6. Administrators' and Non-Administrators' responses to Question 12 Note: For administrators, N=24; for non-administrators, N=48. Figure 7. Responses to Question 12 Based on Years of Experience Note: For < 5 years, N=13; for > 15 years, N=39. Figure 8. Responses to Question 12 Based on Collection-Development Policies Note: For no CD policy, N=19; for those with CD policy, N=53. Question 13: Rating of Controversial Topics As Table 4 shows, on a rating of controversial topics, abortion received the largest percentage of responses in the "extremely controversial" category overall, while Holocaust-revisionism ranked a close second in that category. Interestingly, for abortion, librarians in the "over 51% Jewish" group ranked lowest among respondents on the "extremely controversial" rating (25%); but for Holocaust revisionism, they ranked second highest (50%) among the population groups in rating it as "extremely controversial." Those librarians who had faced prior challenges to materials had the highest percentage (57%) in categorizing Holocaust-revisionist materials as "extremely controversial." In the "somewhat controversial" category Table 4. Rating of Controversial Materials--All Respondents. Extremely Controversial (%) Somewhat Controversial (%) Not at All Controversial (%) Abortion 17.2 40.3 12.5 AIDS 5.6 63.9 30.6 Capital Punishment 18.1 58.3 23.6 Child Abuse 8.3 37.5 54.2 Euthanasia 34.7 51.4 15.3 Evolution 9.7 29.2 59.7 Holocaust Revisionism 44.4 30.6 19.4 Homosexuality 29.2 55.6 22.2 Sexual Abuse 8.3 36.1 55.6 Suicide 15.3 47.2 36.1 Note: N=72. for Holocaust revisionism, the highest figure (35%) came from librarians who had faced prior challenges to materials, while the lowest figure (23%) came from librarians with under five years experience. Those librarians whose communities are over 51% Jewish ranked second lowest (25%) in rating Holocaust revisionism as "somewhat controversial," and also ranked lowest (13%) in rating it as "not controversial." The highest percentage in categorizing Holocaust revisionism as "not controversial" came from librarians with under five years experience (31%), while the lowest figure (9%) came from librarians who had faced prior challenges to materials. Question 16: Would you acquire Holocaust-revisionist mate- rials for your library's collection? When asked whether or not they would acquire Holocaust- revisionist materials, librarians were almost evenly divided (see Table 2 above). As Figure 9 shows, librarians whose libraries have collection-development policies had the highest percentage of yes responses (53%) and the lowest percentage of no responses (36%), while librarians whose libraries do not have collection-development policies had the lowest percentage of yes responses (26%) and the highest percentage of no responses (68%). Figure 9. Responses to Question 16 based on collection- development policies Note: For those with CD policy, N=53; for those with no CD policy, N=19. Although the other population subgroups did not differ this dramatically, there were some significant differences: 1) more non-administrators responded no than administrators (see Figure 10); 2) as Figure 11 illustrates, more librarians with less than five years experience answered no than those with more than fifteen years experience; 3) librarians who had never faced challenges responded no more often than professionals who had encountered challenges (see Figure 12). Figure 10. Administrators' and Non-Administrators' responses to Question 16. Note: For administrators, N=24; for non-administrators, N=48. Figure 11. Responses to Question 16 based on years of experience Note: For <5 years, N=13; for >15, N=39. Figure 12. Responses to Question 16 based on prior experience with challenges to library materials. Note: For prior challenges, N=23; for none, N=39. Question 17: Rating of Factors Influencing Decision to Acquire Holocaust-Revisionist Materials Librarians who claimed that they would acquire Holocaust- revisionist writings were asked to rate five factors that would influence their decision. As Table 5 illustrates, intellectual freedom and balance of viewpoint on the Holocaust were the "winners." The "over 51% Jewish" group ranked balance of viewpoint on the Holocaust as "very important" to a greater degree (75%) than the other populations, while both librarians with under five years experience and those with no collection-development policy had the highest figure (80%) in citing intellectual freedom as being "very important." Weakness of the collection accounted for a total of 88% of Table 5. Factors Influencing Decision to Acquire Holocaust- Revisionist Materials--All Respondents Very Important (%) Somewhat Important (%) Not Important (%) Balance of viewpoint on the Holocaust 57.6 33.3 9.1 Intellectual Freedom 69.7 30.3 0.0 Personal feelings about the topic 9.1 12.1 78.8 Religious/ethnic makeup of the community 12.1 57.6 30.3 Weakness of the collection in this area 15.2 72.7 12.1 Note: N=33. the responses in the "very" and "somewhat important" categories, while the religious/ethno-cultural composition of the community accounted for a total of 70% of the responses in those categories. Personal feelings about the topic ranked low. Question 18: Rating of Factors Influencing Decision Not to Acquire Holocaust-Revisionist Materials Librarians who would not acquire Holocaust-revisionist materials were requested to rate four factors that would influence their decision. As Table 6 shows, lack of scholarly merit was overwhelmingly selected by the respondents (91%). Interestingly, those librarians who serve a Jewish majority gave the second highest rating (75%) for the composition of the community as being "very important". The highest rating Table 6. Factors Influencing Decision Not to Acquire Holocaust-Revisionist Materials--All Respondents Very Important (%) Somewhat Important (%) Not Important (%) Perceived lack of scholarly merit 90.6 6.3 3.1 Impact on children and/or young adults 56.3 21.9 18.8 Personal feelings about the topic 37.5 21.9 40.6 Religious/ethnic makeup of the community 59.4 15.6 25.0 Note: N=32. was given by administrators (78%). Because one person from the Jewish majority group skipped that part of the question, that group had the lowest percentage for ranking lack of scholarly merit as "very important" (75%). Overall, the composition of the community was judged "very important" as a no factor by 59% of respondents, followed closely by impact on children and young adults. Question 19: Possible Subject Headings When asked to choose possible headings for Holocaust-revisionist materials, "Antisemitism" (the Library of Congress Subject Headings spelling) was checked by 57% of all respondents (see Figure 13). The heading "Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Errors, inventions, etc." was the second most popular Figure 13. Possible Subject Headings--All Respondents Note: N=72. choice. A smaller percentage of those librarians who serve communities over 51% Jewish agreed with those two headings (38% for each). Very surprisingly, 50% of that group favored Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--History," the largest percentage among those who selected that heading. Question 20: Where should Holocaust-revisionist materials be classified? As Figure 14 shows, when asked for their opinions on where Holocaust-revisionist materials should be classified, the overwhelming majority of respondents chose classification within the Holocaust-history section. There were no significant differences in the responses to this question when broken down by population subgroups. Figure 14. Classification of Holocaust-revisionist materials- -all respondents. Note: N=72. Question 21: Where should Holocaust-revisionist materials be shelved? The overwhelming majority of respondents agreed that Holocaust-revisionist writings should be kept on open shelves and free of any restriction (see Table 7). Table 7. Location of Holocaust-revisionist materials--all respondents. Should be kept on open shelves and not restricted in any way 88.9% Should be kept in closed stacks and available to anyone on request 1.4% Should be kept in closed stacks and available only to adults 0.0% Should be kept in a special collection/ room for controversial materials 1.4% Other 1.4% Note: N=72. Question 22: Evaluation of the potential offensiveness of Holocaust-revisionist materials Finally, when asked to express their opinions about the offensiveness of these materials, 39% of the respondents indicated that such writings are more offensive than other controversial materials, but 40% responded that they are neither more nor less offensive. No group believed that Holocaust-revisionist items are less offensive (see Figure 15). Figure 15. Offensiveness of Holocaust-revisionist materials-- all respondents. Note: N=72. The other questions posed in the survey were used to break the respondents down into the various subgroups and are not in themselves significant in terms of the hypotheses. Totals for every question appear in Appendix 4. What follows is a brief report on how the data affected the three hypotheses the researchers set forth. Hypothesis 1 The researchers hypothesized that public librarians would oppose the inclusion of Holocaust-revisionist literature in public libraries unless there were some restrictions to its access. As can be seen from Table 2 above, the majority of respondents indicated that they would purchase Holocaust-revisionist literature. Further, as Figure 14 and Table 7 reveal, the majority of respondents favored placing this material on open shelves, and a smaller but still significant majority would want it classified in the Holocaust-history section of the collection. The data therefore have disproved this hypothesis. Hypothesis 2 The researchers hypothesized that the ethnic and religious composition of the community served would play a role in librarians' decisions about whether or not to acquire Holocaust-revisionist items. Table 3 contains the responses of those librarians whose communities are over 51% European-American and those whose communities are over 51% Jewish. These responses do not differ significantly from the overall total, and the very small number of librarians (eight) who reported that their communities are over 51% Jewish makes it difficult to draw any inferences, even from the large (60%) affirmative response. Because the data do not differ markedly overall, hypothesis 2 appears to have been disproved. Hypothesis 3 The researchers hypothesized that public librarians would be less receptive to acquiring Holocaust-revisionist literature than other controversial items. First, 46% of all respondents answered that they would purchase it, and 44% said they would not (see Table 2 above). When asked to compare how controversial Holocaust-revisionist items are as opposed to other controversial materials, 39% responded that the former was more offensive (Figure 11), but 40% thought Holocaust revisionism was neither more nor less offensive, and 15% had no opinion. Furthermore, as Table 4 shows, when ranking various topics as to their controversial nature, abortion (47%) and Holocaust revisionism (44%) were considered the most controversial out of the 10 topics. Since the responses to these key questions were so evenly divided and ambiguous, the data is not statistically significant enough to conclude whether or not hypothesis 3 has been proved or disproved. Interpretation of Data While the data regarding the first two hypotheses were straight-forward, other data collected from the survey were ambiguous in some cases, illustrating the complexity of this issue. Selection Criteria When asked to rate the importance of various selection criteria (Question 10), it has been shown that accuracy and scholarly value were considered very important. This emphasis on accuracy and scholarliness is surprising when one considers that nearly half of all respondents claimed that they would acquire this literature, which is not generally considered to be either accurate or scholarly. Furthermore, recall that respondents rated these selection criteria as extremely important as well: reviews, client requests, and weakness of the collection. These are also interesting statistics, given that Holocaust-revisionist items almost never appear in the legitimate professional review media; and that they are never asked for or are requested rarely (81% of the respondents claimed they were never asked for this literature by patrons; 10% responded that these materials are requested "very rarely"). Thus it appears that for the librarians who would acquire these materials, weakness of the collection might be an even stronger motivating acquisition force than accuracy. This is borne out in the responses to Question 12: Is it acceptable for a library to acquire materials whose factual accuracy might be in question? While accuracy is clearly an important selection criterion, it appears to be so in ideal, general terms and for all subject areas. Where the issue of collection balance is concerned, however, the data suggest that librarians are not averse to acquiring factually questionable items, since nearly half responded affirmatively to the question (see Table 2 above). Balance in this study seems to be allied with the issue of collection weakness. That is, in order to achieve balance and to correct collection weakness, the majority of professionals surveyed would acquire inaccurate and/or factually questionable items. Thus, the decision whether or not to acquire Holocaust-revisionist literature is not an easy one, for this material contradicts the very criteria most librarians use in selection decisions. Interestingly, one librarian's comment invoked two major selection criteria already discussed: "Would be purchased at the request of a patron only if supported by a reputable review source." Factors Influencing Librarians to Acquire Those librarians who answered that they would acquire Holocaust-revisionist literature were requested to rank several possible factors that would influence this decision. For 70% of the respondents, intellectual freedom was cited as being "very important." This is in keeping with the finding that librarians' personal feelings were declared "not important" by 79% of the respondents, suggesting that the professionals surveyed can and do set aside their own judgments about library materials in the interest of fostering free and open discussion and access. Allied with these factors is the finding that balance of the Holocaust collection would be "very important" in influencing the decision to acquire Holocaust-revisionist items. The researchers find these results to be consistent with the data mentioned heretofore that library collections should present all sides of issues; that many professionals would not be opposed to acquiring factually inaccurate or factually questionable works; that Holocaust revisionism did not rank first as the most controversial topic; and that less than 40% of respondents claimed that Holocaust revisionism was more controversial than other topics. The personal comments expressed by many respondents bear out these results: one director voiced his thought that he "wrestles" with this issue "from time to time," while another comment told, poignantly, of the soul-searching involved in being the child of Holocaust survivors; at the same time, this librarian expressed her complete and utter commitment to intellectual freedom and her strong belief that Holocaust-denial items should be acquired, no matter how repugnant, in order to serve a community's needs and intellectual interests. There were large disparities between yes and no responses to the same question by the following groups, who answered affirmatively in a significant way: librarians with a collection-development policy; and librarians who had had library materials challenged. From these data the researchers infer that those librarians who are governed by collection-development guidelines are freer to make choices of materials involving intellectual freedom and controversy. Second, librarians who have met with client challenges may be better equipped than others--that is, stronger and more competent--to meet the backlash that could arise from a library's decision to acquire or not to acquire controversial, offensive materials. Having stood up to challenges in the past, these librarians may realize that challenges are occasionally "part of the job," so to speak, and their experiences have demonstrated that library personnel can survive community opposition. Factors Influencing Librarians Not to Acquire It has been demonstrated that the lack of scholarly merit inherent in Holocaust-denial writings emerged as the foremost reason why librarians said they would not acquire these works. As one respondent remarked, "[They] belong with 'the world was flat material.'" This finding is opposed to the data that show that most of the professionals surveyed would acquire factually questionable works. Moreover, not every librarian who would resist acquiring Holocaust-revisionist materials on unscholarly grounds was opposed to acquiring factually questionable or inaccurate items either. The disparities here reveal once again how complex and confusing the issue is. On the one hand, as has been seen, the librarians seem very sure about their general positions vis-a-vis intellectual freedom, collection balance, and the presentation of all sides of issues. On the other hand, on occasion some of the librarians surveyed betrayed a certain ambiguity about these issues, suggesting to the investigators that the librarians wage a private war between their personal feelings and their strong sense of responsibility and ethics as professionals. Several sample comments from respondents testify to the conflict between personal and professional convictions: As a librarian I feel it is wrong to censor the material we make available to our patrons--that includes Holo- caust-revisionist materials. However, as a child of a Holocaust survivor . . . I am repulsed by this material. . . . Given my background I would find it difficult to select such material, but I am torn between that and my responsibility as a librarian to provide uncensored material to my patrons. I am Jewish, an active Zionist and a student of history. I find these materials horrific, but I am also a civil libertarian and find it difficult to balance freedom of speech and critical judgement [sic]. While I believe that no matter how abhorrent such material is to many people the point of view should be represented in a collection. It has been seen that the religious/ethno-cultural composition of a community would be a significant factor in librarians' decisions both to acquire and not to acquire Holocaust-denial literature. But even though librarians cited the composition of the community as being important, the data show that as many librarians serving communities that would presumably be most offended by this material would acquire it as those who would not. Because the data have shown that li- brarians serving European-American communities (under which the Jewish community must be subsumed) are not generally opposed to Holocaust-revisionist writings, and that this group does not consider the items to be overwhelmingly controversial, the researchers further conclude that these particular demographic factors would not in themselves prevent most librarians from acquiring Holocaust-denial items. The only population who expressed themselves very significantly in the no response to the question "Would you acquire Holocaust-revisionist materials for your library's collection?" were the following: librarians with less than five years experience, and librarians working in institutions with no collection-development policies (see Figures 9 and 11 above). The investigators draw the conclusions from these findings that younger, less experienced professionals might be more fearful than their more seasoned counterparts of incurring the wrath of their respective communities and/or administrators by actively acquiring these writings; and that librarians working with no collection-development policies might, ironically, be laboring under less free acquisition standards than professionals working with a policy that likely sets out clearly what can and should be acquired for a library in a specific community. The investigators also assume that collection-development policies would express their strong adherence to American Library Association guidelines about free and open access to all points of view on all subjects. Overall, the data supported the importance, for the purposes of tabulation and comparison, of the investigators' decision to categorize the respondents into the various population subgroups. For example, from the data the investigators infer the following: * On the whole, collection-development policies seem to make librarians more liberal-minded and amenable to acquiring all kinds of materials. * Administrators have a high regard for intellectual freedom and the presentation of all sides of issues; furthermore, in keeping with these findings, administrators would not oppose the acquisition of factually questionable items. This is borne out by the statement of a librarian who said that her institution (that has a Jewish-majority clientele) had purchased some Holocaust-revisionist works at the behest of the Director, who desires "to include all opinions in the name of freedom." * Librarians with less than five years experience are less tolerant than their colleagues with more than fifteen years of service on the key questions of presentation of all sides of issues; acceptability of acquiring factually questionable items; and specifically the acquisition of Holocaust-revisionist materials. * On the key questions named above, librarians who had experienced challenges and those who had not differ in their perspective. The yes and no responses from both groups were roughly the same to the question of presenting all sides of issues. However, on the question of acquiring factually questionable items, librarians with challenge experience answered yes overwhelmingly, whereas the librarians who had never encountered challenges were more emphatic in their no response. Finally, when asked if they would acquire Holo- caust-revisionist materials, the majority of the "challenge group" favored acquisition, but the "no-challenge" librarians were almost evenly divided among themselves in their responses. Clearly, for those who have never faced challenges to materials acquired, the lack of specific guidelines makes for confusion and indecision. While numerous respondents expressed their personal repugnance at the lack of validity and content of Holocaust-revisionist materials, fewer librarians than expected proclaimed shock or outrage that such items could be even considered for library purchase or be at the heart of a research study. Indeed, it was reported to the researchers that some respondents and others familiar with the project thought the investigation was interesting and "about time." CHAPTER V SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS Holocaust revisionists purport to be the only historians who are telling the truth about the Jewish Holocaust. They say that they are right and that everybody else, including survivors, perpetrators, collaborators, and witnesses, is wrong. Those who deny the Holocaust dispute the authenticity of the huge body of primary sources, and therefore question the secondary materials based on them, some of which will be found in every library. The public library's goal is to make available to its clients materials on all topics and from all points of view. Librarians have historically opposed censorship in all its forms, including labeling. Holocaust revisionism strongly tests public librarians' commitments to intellectual freedom, open access, and accuracy, because it contradicts and distorts the historical record. This struggle between wanting to develop balanced collections and not wanting to censor or label was clearly demonstrated in the comments written by many of the respondents to the questionnaire. Some described intellectual wrestling matches between their commitment to intellectual freedom and material that they found to be offensive and/or felt would offend users of their libraries. The cataloging and classification practices of the Library of Congress have also added to the confusion and controversy regarding revisionist materials. The class number and subject heading(s) assigned by LC are very important in a time when most libraries copy their cataloging data from bibliographic utilities or CIP. At the present time, there is no separate number in either the Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress classification systems for Holocaust-revisionist materials, with which the respondents to this project's survey disagreed. As the responses to Question 20 show (see Figure 14 above), the public librarians surveyed believe that Holocaust revisionism should have its own separate number within the Holocaust history section. More respondents also selected "Antisemitism" than any other subject heading to describe this material. Conclusions Two of the three hypotheses proposed by the present researchers have been disproved, and the data is not statistically significant enough to either prove or disprove the third. Public librarians in general do not oppose the acquisition of Holocaust-revisionist materials and would not restrict access to it. Although the overwhelming majority of public librarians believe that accuracy and the scholarly value of the material are important criteria when selecting materials, nearly half said that they would acquire Holocaust-revisionist materials for their libraries. The ethnic and religious composition of the communities served did not influence the decision whether or not to acquire revisionist materials. However, for those who opposed acquiring it, approximately 75% said that the ethnic/religious composition of the community was either very or somewhat important. Although many public librarians believe that Holocaust-revisionist literature is "extremely controversial," many also said that it is neither more nor less offensive than other controversial materials. Thus the investigators cannot say with certitude whether public librarians are or are not less receptive to acquiring Holocaust-revisionist materials than other controversial items. Recommendations The present researchers believe that every library should have a written collection-development policy that addresses, among other things, the acquisition of materials known to be factually inaccurate. The researchers also recommend that all classification systems and all collections of subject headings provide specifically for Holocaust revisionism. Suggestions for Additional Research The questionnaire used to collect data for this research project relied upon the individual librarians to characterize the religious and ethno-cultural makeup of their communities. A few librarians, however, did not answer that section, citing a lack of available census data. Those wishing to carry the research in this project further, or to implement the methodology in another library system, are advised to use data from the 1990 United States population census. This will not only shorten the questionnaire but also provide data on all of the communities served by the librarians in the sample selected. Although ethnic/cultural data are available, religious denominational data for individual communities and/or census tracts are not yet available to the knowledge of the present researchers. Those wishing to pursue additional research regarding Holocaust-denial literature might investigate the attitudes of academic librarians to learn if their responses differ markedly from the responses of the public librarians surveyed in this paper. Additional research could also be implemented in large, centralized public library systems to compare the attitudes of branch librarians with librarians working in the system's central library. Since over 80% of this project's respondents characterized price as either very or somewhat important when selecting materials, more research could be done to compare attitudes of librarians whose libraries have small budgets with those whose libraries have large budgets. While this project investigated librarians' attitudes, actual library practices could easily be checked in this, the age of online catalogs. It would be very interesting to take lists of Holocaust-denial books and other controversial titles and check the holdings of libraries whose librarians said they would acquire revisionist material and that libraries should provide both sides of all issues. This comparison would demonstrate whether or not librarians practice what they preach. As has been mentioned throughout this paper, historical revision is a common and necessary practice of historians. Not all revisionist writings are based on fabrications, but many of them do come close. Some Afrocentric books have been severely criticized by historians for being inaccurate and misleading. Oliver Stone's film JFK was followed by a wave of assassination/conspiracy books, many of which read like stories one would expect to find in supermarket tabloids. Additional research could be carried out to investigate librarians' attitudes regarding other revisionist materials to see how they compare with attitudes regarding Holocaust revisionism. Serious time constraints prevented the present investigators from pursuing these related matters. Nevertheless, the researchers believe that the findings of the present project are valid and that the sample surveyed is representative of suburban public librarians in the Northeastern United States. Bibliography Abbott, Randy L. "A Critical Analysis of the Library-Related Literature Concerning Censorship in Public Libraries and Public School Libraries in the United States During the 1980s." Bethesda, MD: ERIC, 1987. 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"His Right to Say It." The Nation 232 (28 February 1981): 231-234. "CLA Cancels 'Holocaust Hoax' Publisher." Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom 34 (January 1985): 1, 30-31. Cooper, Mary H. "The Growing Danger of Hate Groups." Edi- torial Research Reports, no. 18 (12 May 1989): 262-275. Corn, David. "Congressman, Take Hitler's Monetary Policy...." The Nation 249 (11 December 1989): 708. Dahl, Katherine. "One Chance in Eighty: Access to the Alternative Press Index." Bethesda, MD: ERIC, 1989. ED313049 Dawidowicz, Lucy S. "Lies About the Holocaust." Commentary 70 (December 1980): 31-37. Delloff, Linda Marie. "Revising Holocaust History: Malice in the Mails." Christian Century 97 (16 July 1980): 724- 725. "Director Says 'No Thanks' to Unsolicited 'Auschwitz Myth.'" American Libraries 20 (September 1989): 725. "Diversity in Collection Development: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights." Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom 31 (September 1982): 189. Donnelly, F. K. 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CAUT Bulletin (April 1985); repr. in Judaica Librarianship 3 (1986-87): 51-52. West, Celeste. "The Secret Garden of Censorship: Ourselves." Library Journal 108 (1 September 1983): 1651-1653. Whigham, Beth M. "An Inquiry Into Making Controversial Materials Available in the Media Center to Secondary Stu- dents." Journal of Educational Media and Library Sci- ences 28 (1990): 26-42. Winkler, Karen J. "How Should Scholars Respond to Assertions That the Holocaust Never Happened?" Chronicle of Higher Education 38 (11 December 1991): A8-A10. Woods, L. B., and Cynthia Robinson. "Censorship: Changing Reality." Bethesda, MD: ERIC, 1982. ED226740 Woods, L. B., and Kathleen M. Cook. "The Rape of the Statue of Liberty?" Bethesda, MD: ERIC, 1982. ED314056 Wurzburger, Marilyn. "Conducting a Mail Survey: Some of the Things You Probably Didn't Learn in Any Research Methods Course." College and Research Libraries News 48 (1987): 697-700.
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