Libraries and the Presidential Debates


Below is a message from the American Library Association's president encouraging librarians and library supporters to take this opportunity to express support for our nation's libraries. Aside from the wondeful resources and services libraries provide, the professionals who staff them are advocates for intellectual freedom and are also some of the most ardent supporters of your civil rights. Since this debate occurs the week following Banned Books Week, it's an opportune time to inquire with John McCain as to whether or not he supports his running mate, Sarah Palin's, challenges to her local libraries. I plan to submit a question that asks for each candidates' stance on the USA PATRIOT Act and what action they will take when it comes up for renewal, whether they be serving as President or Senator.


On Tuesday, October 7, one of the three 2008 Presidential debates between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain will be held at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. This debate will be a town hall format moderated by Tom Brokaw. The moderator will call on members of the audience as well as select questions submitted online.
During this election year, we are looking for librarians and library supporters from across the country to call attention to the value of today's libraries in our communities, as well as the issues the library community is facing. We encourage all ALA members to submit questions. The Commission on Presidential Debates has partnered with MySpace to reate a new Web site, This site will become available in the days leading up to the first Presidential debate on September 26.  The more questions submitted, the more likely a library question will be asked. This is an opportunity for the library voice to become an important part of the 2008 Presidential election.
James Rettig
ALA President