Progressive Librarians Guild

The Progressive Librarians Guild (PLG)[1] was founded in New York City in January 1990 by librarians concerned with the library profession's "rapid drift into dubious alliances with business and the information industry, and into complacent acceptance of service to an unquestioned political, economic and cultural status quo," according to the organization's statement of purpose.[2] The PLG addresses issues especially relating to librarianship and human rights.

Progressive Librarian: A Journal for Critical Studies & Progressive Politics in Librarianship

Progressive Librarian
Summer 2006 cover
Publication details
Progressive Librarians Guild
Standard abbreviations
ISO 4Progress. Libr.

The Progressive Librarians Guild publishes the journal The Progressive Librarian, a forum for critical perspectives in librarianship and information studies.[3] The journal features articles, book reviews, bibliographies, reports, and documents. The first issue of Progressive Librarian (PL), published in the summer of 1990 on the heels of the founding of PLG, was given its title by Sanford Berman who exclaimed that the journal of PLG could have no other title than Progressive Librarian (the subtitle, A Journal of Critical Studies and Progressive Politics in Librarianship, came later in 1998 with issue #14). The first issue was to be a contribution to the debate taking place within the American Library Association (ALA) in which the upper ranks of power in ALA were attempting to overturn the association's official support of the cultural boycott against apartheid institutions in South Africa.[4] An index for 1990-1999 was published in 2007.[5]

Miriam Braverman Memorial Prize

The Guild annually bestows the Miriam Braverman Memorial Prize to library and information science students attending a graduate level program in the United States or Canada who submit a paper based on an aspect of the social responsibilities of librarians, libraries, or librarianship. Papers related to archivists, archives, and archival work are also eligible.

Union Library Workers

The Guild sponsors the blog Union Library Workers[6] and publishes an annual review of librarians and labor in its journal.[7] The Progressive Librarian article, "Collective Bargaining is a Human Right," summarized librarian involvement in 2011 public sector union protests to defend collective bargaining in Wisconsin.[8]

PLG Discussion List

The Guild sponsors a discussion list, PLGnet.

Statements and resolutions

Progressive Librarian Guild members preparing to march at the Atlanta Women's march on 1/21/2017. During Midwinter meeting of the American Library Association.

The Guild has issued statements and resolutions such as:

  • "PLG Resolution on Divestment of Holdings in Fossil Fuel Companies and Libraries’ Role in a Peaceful Transition to a Fossil-Fuel-Free Economy." June 30, 2013.[9]
  • "Statement on Censorship and the Tucson Unified School District." January 21, 2012.[10]
  • "On Wikileaks and the Library of Congress: A Statement by the Progressive Librarians Guild." (2010).[11]
  • "Calls for Elsevier to End Corrupt Publishing Practices and for Library Associations to Take Advocacy Role on Behalf of Scientific Integrity." (2009)
  • "Endorsed the Iraq Moratorium." (2007)
  • "Resolution Against anti-immigrant Legislation." (2006).[12]

Joint Conference of Librarians of Color

The Progressive Librarians Guild was represented at the 2006 Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC) with a panel on Librarians and Social Movements.[13] For the 2012 JCLC the Progressive Librarian #38/39 included a feature on the conference and the five caucus associations of color.[14]

United States Social Forum 2007

In 2007 members of the Progressive Librarians Guild participated in the United States Social Forum (USSF) in Atlanta. In homage to the USSF's statement on language accessibility, PLG's new banner read "Library" on one side and "Biblioteca" on the other for the Opening March that launched the first ever regional social forum in the United States. The Librarians program was held at the Auburn Avenue Research Library, the second largest collection of African-American materials in the U.S., located on the very street that is home to the Ebenezer Baptist Church and the gravesites of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King.[15] PLG members collected materials from the USSF for the Labadie Collection at the University of Michigan.[16]


As of May 2017, the Progressive Librarians Guild has 3 active chapters:[17]

  • London (Ontario) PLG Chapter
  • St. Kate's PLG Chapter (the College of St. Catherine)
  • Toronto PLG Chapter

The following chapters are no longer active:

  • Dalhousie University PLG Chapter
  • Drexel PLG Chapter
  • Emporia State University PLG Chapter
  • Indiana University PLG Chapter
  • Piedmont (SC) PLG Chapter
  • Vancouver PLG Chapter
  • SILS PLG Chapter
  • St. John's University PLG Chapter
  • Simmons GSLIS PLG Chapter
  • University of Arizona PLG Chapter
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign PLG Chapter
  • University of Missouri PLG Chapter
  • Wayne State University (Detroit) PLG Chapter


  1. ^ Civallero, Edgardo. "Progressive Librarians Guild | Home". Retrieved 2018-07-28.
  2. ^ “Progressives” meet at ALA Midwinter; new group embraces socially responsible and ethical perspectives." Library Journal (1976) 115 (February 1990): 116.
  3. ^ The Progressive Librarian
  4. ^ Harger, Elaine. 2010. "Looking backward, imagining forward: celebrating 20 years of “Progressive Librarian”." Progressive Librarian 58-71.
  5. ^ McCook, Kathleen de la Peña and Marianne Lenihan. "Progressive librarian index: issues #1–16, 1990–1999." Progressive Librarian (Summer supp): 2-54.
  6. ^ "Union Library Workers". Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  7. ^ Deards, Kiyomi. "“Librarians for Human Rights” and “Union Librarian”." SRRT Newsletter. (March 2010).
  8. ^ Kathleen de la Peña McCook. Collective Bargaining is a Human Right. Progressive Librarian, (Spring 2012).
  9. ^ "PLG Resolution on Divestment of Holdings in Fossil Fuel Companies and Libraries' Role in a Peaceful Transition to a Fossil-Fuel-Free Economy". Progressive Librarian (41): 110–112. Fall 2013.
  10. ^ Progressive Librarian #38/39 (spring 2012): 97-99.
  11. ^ "On Wikileaks and the Library of Congress: A Statement by the Progressive Librarians Guild." Progressive Librarian (Fall/Winter 2010): 75.
  12. ^ Resolution Against Anti-Immigrant Legislation 2006. Progressive Librarian (Summer 2006): 73.
  13. ^ Joint Conference of Librarians of Color, Proceedings, Gathering at the Waters, Embracing Our Spirits, Telling Our Stories. "Librarians and Social Movements," pp. 8-18, 2006.
  14. ^ "Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC)." Progressive Librarian, 38/39, Spring 2012.
  15. ^ Harger, Elaine; de la Pena McCook, Kathleen. "Report from the United States Social Forum: PLG – ¡presenté!". Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  16. ^ Harger, Elaine and Kathleen de la Peña McCook. PLG – “iPresenté!” Report from the United States Social Forum. Progressive Librarian (Winter 2007/2008): 79-102.
  17. ^ Civallero, Edgardo. "PLG | List of chapters". Retrieved 2018-07-28.

External links

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