A general record of my ongoing battle with all forms of nonsense.

Wednesday 26 November 2008

A Rather Weak Reply from Leicestershire CC Library Services

I received this rather weak reply from Library Services.  It was quite impressive that she actually spent the time to visit the libraries and look at the book, chat to collegues and then completely ignore the points I was trying to make.

Thank you for your letter of 20th November, and your comments on the new Oadby Library. I am pleased that you think it is fantastic – we are very proud of it.

You make some very clear points about the stock there, and thank you for these.  I have spoken to the buying team, a customer service librarian at Oadby and visited the library to look at the stock myself before replying to you. 

We do attempt to avoid bias in all areas of our stock and to represent all viewpoints, within the law of the land. We have to be selective in what we buy as we have a limited budget and there are many thousands of books published in any one year. In the case of Alternative Medicine there is certainly no deliberate “anti-science basis”. In the Health and Well-being section, there are titles on lots of areas, including mainstream medicine. Not every title we stock is on the shelf at any one time, as they will have been borrowed. We do stock material that is popular with our library users and is reflected in the number of times they have been borrowed. Books which are not in stock in Oadby Library may be available in other libraries across the network, and can be requested. We will also borrow titles from across the country through the Inter-Library Loan services to enable borrowers to have access to any title they wish, if it is available. 

We do try to satisfy our users requirements, if we can. I hope this is helpful. 

Thank you for your interest, 

And my response:

I thank you for your reply of 24th November 2008, however I wish to point out that none of the issues I raised were responded to.

My issues are as follows:

  • There is huge bias against the current scientific consensus in areas such as alternative medicine and the paranormal, to the point that there appear to be a total of zero books supporting the scientific consensus on the subjects.

  • That some of the information in some of these books is potentially dangerous to the reader, to the point where making the claims would be illegal if made by a practitioner.

  • That by promoting books in exact opposition to the scientific consensus, the library is spreading ignorance on extremely important matters such as health.
You mentioned that the library has lots of books on mainstream medicine. However, this was irrelevant to my point – I was discussing alternative medicine. The books on alternative medicine are ones with incredible bias – thankfully most of the books on mainstream medicine support the scientific consensus otherwise I’d be complaining about those too.

Though you have said there is no deliberate bias, having seen my letter and visited the library you are no doubt now aware of significant bias – even if it is not deliberate. However, you have failed to say what, if anything, the library service plans to do about it. I’d like a response on the following:
  • Does the library even acknowledge that the bias exists?

  • Does the library plan to do anything about this problem?

  • If so, what?

I look forward to your reply.

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