Hillary Clinton Stresses Libraries Are Crucial In "Defending Truth" Under Trump
During a speech at the American Library Association's convention in Chicago on Tuesday morning, Hillary Clinton told librarians that they are crucial to "defending truth." During her nearly 30-minute speech, Clinton extolled the virtues of librarians and libraries during her nearly 30-minute speech, while also indirectly criticizing Donald Trump's administration for cutting funding for libraries across the country.
Clinton's appearance at the ALA convention was sponsored by Simon & Schuster, the publishing house with which she is working as she prepares to release an illustrated children's version of her book, It Takes A Village, this fall. While she reflected a bit on her upcoming book, Clinton also used her speech to praise the role that librarians and libraries play in American society.
Clinton noted that she believes that "libraries and democracy go hand in hand" and that she sees librarians as playing a critical role in fostering this relationship. Clinton also revealed that she thinks that the role of librarians as perpetuators of democracy is more critical now than ever before:
You have to be on the front lines of one of the most important fights we have ever faced in the history of our country: The fight to defend truth and reason, evidence, and facts.
While, according to the Chicago Tribune, Clinton did not mention President Trump by name, she did seem to make indirect references to policies perpetuated by his administration, particularly in her critique of its proposed slashing of library funds. Clinton noted that a proposed measure to cut federal funding for libraries, which exists in the current version of the Trump budget proposal, is "not only shortsighted," but "deeply disturbing." CNN also reported that Clinton said that these cuts would have "a disproportionate, adverse impact on rural and underserved communities."
Clinton also appeared to take a swipe at Trump's known penchant for accusing the media of producing "fake news" by highlighting the role of libraries and librarians in helping Americans, especially young Americans, discern fact from fiction:
Long before fake news and alternative facts were familiar terms, librarians were teaching media literacy. ... In libraries and classrooms across the country, you [librarians] help learners of all ages sort out truth from fiction and how to build an argument based on rational evidence.
The former presidential candidate wrapped up her speech at the ALA by thanking audience members for their services as librarians and educators. She encouraged the audience to continue their hard work and let them know that she was looking forward to "supporting them in the years to come." Clinton's speech seemed to be very well-received at the ALA, as uproarious applause followed the conclusion of her address.