Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2003


Librarians, Public sphere, Libraries, Library associations, Communities, State library agencies, Governors, Public libraries, Terrorism, Library operations


In these affairs, no gun is needed. The victims do it all themselves. And the bullets never miss.--Bruce Jackson, CounterPunch , May 2003 Libraries play an important role in community building by supporting the public sphere to provide a commons environment that addresses the need for people to meet and interact with others. (1) Additionally, the library preserves historical and cultural memory and maintains resources for discourse and decision-making. However, since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and the passage of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act, the community-building commons role of the public library has been at risk. Learning why first requires a look at the climate for free speech in the United States since September 11.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Reference & User Services Quarterly, v. 43, no. 1, p. 14-17