Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Statement from LibraryThing’s Employees on Trump’s Recent Executive Order

LibraryThing’s eleven employees stand together alongside so many in the library, literary, publishing, and tech worlds in opposition to President Trump’s recent executive order on refugees, immigration, and travel.

We feel compelled to do so as Trump’s actions concern us deeply, and strike at the heart of our work at the intersection of libraries and technology.

From the Library of Alexandria to the present day, libraries best realize their mission when they participate in the open meeting of cultures. At the most basic level, LibraryThing draws its data from libraries around the world, whose librarians collaborate to create records and make them available freely everywhere. At a higher level, we celebrate public libraries, who do so much to welcome and support refugees and immigrants, and the love of reading, which knows no national, ethnic, or religious bounds.

The American tech industry too draws much of its strength from immigrants and diversity of all kinds. Steve Jobs, whose computers we use and whose picture hangs at headquarters in Portland, Maine, was the son of a Syrian migrant. Our own employees have included (so far) Christians, Jews, Muslims, agnostics and atheists, one US immigrant, and residents of half a dozen countries.

We believe:

  • The order is unjust and discriminatory.
  • The order conflicts with American—and democratic—ideals, including welcome to refugees and immigrants, and equal treatment for people of any religion.
  • The order harms America’s safety and standing in the world. It encourages America’s enemies and hurts its friends.
  • The order was executed cruelly and incompetently, inflicting needless additional suffering.

The people who work for LibraryThing do not all share the same politics or views. We have never made such a statement before, and hope we never have to again. But as librarians and believers in the promise of technology, we shall continue to stand for an open and accepting world, welcoming to refugees and immigrants, in which national, ethnic and religious differences are celebrated.

This statement was written by Tim, with encouragement and changes by other employees.

Update: If you’d like to join the discussion on Talk, that’s happening here.

Labels: employee statements, LibraryThing


  1. Carrie says:

    Thank You. Hopefully, with the response, the ban will be lifted.

  2. elenchus says:

    I appreciate the stated support for an open and accepting world, explicitly one in which people (LT employees or anyone) do not all share the same politics or views. An important stance, and well crafted, hoping the LT team can draw from it the cohesion and purpose I see there.

  3. Andrea says:

    Thank you for taking a stand.

  4. Stefano says:

    From Italy: well done, you have all my support!

  5. Marylin Raisch says:

    Thank you for taking such a principled approach. The situation regarding the election of Mr. Trump, which was valid under our Constitution, has come to threaten that very Constitution. The hope is that with bipartisan disapproval of actions that prevent the United States from continuing its leading role, with many other democracies worldwide, as a haven for the lovers of all books and ideas, reason and rights will prevail. Otherwise, it’s Fahrenheit 451.

  6. Birger says:

    From Denmark: Thanks!!

  7. njinthesun says:

    Thank you Tim and all other LT employees for having the courage, strength and wisdom to take a stand -

  8. Linda Rogers says:

    I am honored to be able to join LibraryThing in trying to save our country from this very troubled person, who if not stopped, will take our country down in a very short period of time. thank you for giving me a platform on which to comment on this serious and frightening situation.

  9. Dany says:

    Thank you!! I love this!

  10. Rick Krause says:

    Thank you for this important, admirable, and eloquent statement.

  11. ellen says:

    Thank you Tim! I really appreciate your taking the time to write this. As the daughter of an immigrant and the colleague of many, I find the fact that this was so easy for Trump to do a disgraceful failing of our democracy. I hope the courts can reverse it.

  12. Teresa says:

    Thank you! This action is unprecedented so I appreciate you contributing to unity.

  13. Peter McClean says:

    From Ireland: Well said!

  14. Dawn says:

    I am surprised that even here, I can’t escape other people’s political opinions.. This is not a political site. This is about books. I don’t care what you think about the actions of the newly elected president of the United States.

  15. Martin says:

    What I find alarming is that a site like LibraryThing is also politicized. Whereever you go, you need to take a stand, make a statement or risk getting ridiculed or worse. Is this truly the place for protest? Even here?

  16. Sean says:

    I’m proud to be a member of an organization willing to speak up about this injustice. I’m just afraid it won’t be the last time voices will need to speak out.

  17. lhungsbe says:

    Terrorists have undoubtedly entered our country, along with valid refugees. If the ban (which is for just 90 days) prevents one terrorist from entering, it was successful.

  18. Linda Holt says:

    Bravo! I refuse to give up hope that the voices of reasoned thought will prevail, and the voices of hateful and divisive rhetoric will be silenced.

  19. colophon2 says:

    The above message from Library Thing was designed to be politically correct which might have been prescient with the previous administration. Also, Public Libraries no longer provide the service or function for which they were designed. I look forward to a return of the Private Library and a facility for scholarly research.

  20. Paul says:

    I am saddened by your statement. Those who support the EO now will feel unwelcome by LT. It is a divisive statement.

  21. Michele says:

    The fact that this is a first says a lot. Politics can be a turbulent field and sometimes, it spreads into every facet of our lives. Great job guys, I think you handled a sensitive issue very well and with lots of compassion.

  22. ivanfranko says:

    From New Zealand, “Well Done”. Many here are alarmed at the sudden irruption of divisive politics that target “the other” in the USA. The rhetoric and measures proposed by your new president are those of an incipient fascist regime.

  23. Nicola says:

    It really bothers me that I have to listen to American politics on a book site and I can’t stand companies politicising their platforms.

  24. jennifer says:

    LT is a book site. If you wanted to make a public political statement, you should have done so as a private citizen, not using the name of LibraryThing to make it appear as if you’re speaking on behalf of over two million members.

  25. Stan says:

    Tim & LT — thank you for taking a stand against the growth of fascism in America, of which this Muslim ban is only a small yet significant part. We must stand up to the bad guys, even if the bad guys are now running our own country — from Massachusetts, where we are always on the right side of human rights

  26. Tom says:

    Glad to be part of a community that’s willing to make a statement like this. Keep up the good work.

  27. artturnerjr says:

    Thanks for this. An extraordinary thing to have to say, to be sure, but these are extraordinary times.

  28. Jon Kapp says:

    This is Jon C from Southern CA…I agree with your statement and you have my support…

  29. Fiona Joint says:

    Well said. I agree with everything you write.

  30. Kevin McCann says:

    I am very disappointed with LibraryThing for publishing this statement on behalf of its employees. Each is entitled to his/her own opinion on matters that affect our nation and can express those opinions on their own personal social media pages and groups. Promoting their collective opinion using the LibraryThing website is inappropriate. Not every member who has contributed their time and money to help this site grow and prosper shares these sentiments. All it does is create unnecessary division in a forum where it simply doesn’t belong. No similar statements–as far as I know– were ever expressed about the previous administration, one that I personally disagreed with on many positions.I wouldn’t expect a website that fosters the love of books and reading to do so.

    I hope the leadership will consider removing this statement. I am strongly considering withdrawing from LibraryThing if this is what is to be expected over the next four years.

  31. Jeff Lovell says:

    I agree with the these views and sentiments. Well and professionally stated.

  32. Bookstooge says:

    And with this statement you have blown ALL credibility about your ability to be impartial here at Librarything.

    Why should I trust anything you adjudicate from now on? I won’t, plain and simple.

  33. Lise M McGuinness says:

    Thank you. I have been finding it difficult to frequent websites that remain silent, as if life’s going on as usual. I applaud you for speaking up. Makes me love librarything even more than I did already.

  34. Erin Clark says:

    Hear, hear! Proud to be a Librarything member!

  35. Cyndy Calkins says:

    Thank you for LT’s statement. Knowing that there are people who will not be silent gives me much hope.

  36. Jessica Trotter says:

    Thank you. This is important and needed.

  37. ivanfranko says:

    You’ve had seven days to moderate my remarks. Am I in, or am I out?


  38. Mellifluous says:

    Thank you. ❤️

  39. shesinplainview says:

    I am so disappointed in Librarything. I thought this site was supposed to be about books, not politics.

  40. Frank Daniels says:

    Hi Dawn, (& some others)

    Books do not exist in isolation; they are products of a political economy, capitalist, socialist, communist etc. The peace you now have to enjoy your books in the U.S.A. might be threatened by the new President; then again it might not, but there are danger signs already. Keep your ear to the ground if you do not wish to be taken by surprise. Ray Bradbury wrote “Fahrenheit 451″ for a reason. I’m in the U.K. but I believe that LibraryThing was right to point up the possible dangers that lie ahead.

  41. Sherry says:

    Stick to being librarything, and leave politics out of it, please, rather than alienating a large portion of your (paying!) customers.

  42. Steve says:

    I recently hosted a gathering at my house for my neighbors. I live in the country so the group was small. There were 3 couples. One couple had Trump signs in their yard; one couple i knew their political leanings and the third couple not sure. The purpose of the party was to get to know one another as neighbors and NOT talk politics. We exchanged some personal background and talents that we might share with one another. We all left knowing that if we needed help from our neighbor it was there; no questions asked. So, while it is tempting to use a particular forum to spread one’s views and thoughts let’s not forget why we are here. We all love books. And as we know books encompass the entire spectrum of thought, will and idea. The Library is my door to the World. Please let me find my own way regarding the State of the World. Without taking away from what the employees here feel I believe a different forum is a better choice for expressing their opinion. I agree with another writer and encourage this statement to be removed.

  43. Claire says:

    I’m pleased to support a website that takes a principled stand, thank you

  44. Sailor Figment says:

    I wonder if the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it. ‘- Mark Twain

  45. Ailsa says:

    Thank you, LibraryThing. This Asian-American lesbian Jew truly appreciates you taking this stand.

  46. Yankeelawdog says:

    I just downloaded this app and having read this, I am likely going to delete it. Keep to the business at hand (cataloging) and drop the politics.

  47. Hans says:

    I do not support this statement. We had several muslims here call for the ban of several books, and demand the closure of both christian, jewish and gay/lesbian bookstores, the removal of books from schools and libraries. This is about books not about politics, and I agree with previous writers that this statement should be removed.

  48. Amy F. says:

    Thank you for this statement. You have my wholehearted support.

  49. librisissimo says:

    It looks like your readership / patrons are about as evenly divided as the population.
    For every cheer there is a jeer.
    Please don’t politicize everything in the world.
    We need some safe spaces where we can just be friends.

  50. librisissimo says:

    In keeping with LT’s obsession about statistics: 31 comments agree with the editorial post; 3 disagree with the position stated; 2 were not categorizable; and 13 abhorred the politicization without expressing a position on the statement itself. Out of more than 2 million patrons over 22 days, that means most people haven’t even seen this blog post OR are unwilling to express disagreement, because: (fill in the blank).

    Thanks for participating.

  51. librisissimo says:

    The 233 comments at the Talk thread were very interesting. I can’t really parse out and count the “pros” and “cons” because they are not all unique commenters. However, at least it’s in a clearly demarcated “political box” and thus (as many remarked) can be easily ignored or joined in.

    1776 (1972)
    Hopkins: Well, in all my years I ain’t never heard, seen nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn’t be talked about. Hell yeah! I’m for debating anything.

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