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!

    • Victor (aussieVic) says:

      To Dawn – if you are older than 18 well then it is about time you did. If you continue in this frame of mind you will not be a very good addition to the population of your country. Remember also that if you do not take part you can have no legitimate reason to complain later if/when situations do not suit you.
      Should you be younger than 18 then I suggest that you should return to school and take better notice of those things your teachers are trying to teach you.

  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.

    • Victor (aussieVic) says:

      To Martin – yes. But please take note that it not LT which is making this statement but some of the responsible (hopefully) adults who are concerned about where and to whom you and I (and everyone else) may visit. What will you do if Australia bans visitors from the US, UK, and other European countries?

  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.

  52. holly_golightly says:

    Thank you for standing up for the people who cannot defend themselves.
    It is the right thing to do.

  53. laketa715 says:

    I agree!! Thank you!!!

  54. readysetgo says:

    Garbage. Here for the books, not you’re concern trolling LT. Stick to the program, you can activist all you want on your own time.

  55. PeterK says:

    apparently y’all were okay with President Obama putting in place a similar ban but didn’t think to protest that. y’all apparently didn’t read the ban to begin with

    finally I don’t appreciate seeing Librarything being politicized. You have a great product.

    now stop patting yourselves on your back and get back to creating an Librarything android app

  56. PeterK says:

    The order is unjust and discriminatory.
    In what way is it unjust and discriminatory? please provide some facts to justify your opinion.

    The order conflicts with American—and democratic—ideals, including welcome to refugees and immigrants, and equal treatment for people of any religion.

    sorry but it doesn’t. each country has a right to determine who can or can’t enter the country. just look at what has happened in Germany and Sweden. yes Sweden if you do a little research they have a major problem with Muslim refugees. look at Norway where Muslim refugees are required to take classes in how to interact with Western women who don’t wear the hijab, but do wear short skirts
    The order harms America’s safety and standing in the world. It encourages America’s enemies and hurts its friends.
    again this is an opinion. please provide facts to support this opinion
    The order was executed cruelly and incompetently, inflicting needless additional suffering.
    cruelly? don’t thinks incompetently maybe

    have you protested the fact that so very few Christian refugees have been admitted to this country?

  57. Kathy says:

    Thank you! It’s critical at this time that we stand up for our freedoms and principles.

  58. Wellie says:

    SO terribly sad… a really good site about reading and books just can’t stay out of the political vortex and feels they have to make a stand and use this platform to get a message out that frankly I’ve grown weary of….
    Why can’t we leave all of the politics to the politicians? If you don’t like something the government is doing, speak with your vote, not on a website where not everyone wants a lecture on your political beliefs.
    Goodbye Library Thing!

  59. Stefano says:

    Well done. Thank you!

  60. Beth says:

    While I appreciate everyone’s right to their own opinion and freedom of speech, I was very disappointed to read that LibraryThing has jumped on the political bandwagon. I have enjoyed this site for many years and the opportunity to come together, regardless of our differences, for the love of books. I just want to read some books and find out what other people enjoy reading. I didn’t join this group to hear your political statements. To be honest, I don’t care what they are. That said, I felt compelled to “join the discussion” even though I’m sure it will trigger some negative feedback.

    I believe it would have been much more positive to support our democratic process in your statement and offer encouragement for people to come together and give the new administration a chance, regardless of their political side. President Trump put a temporary ban on travel to and from certain countries…key word, temporary. President Obama put into effect a travel ban from these countries years ago…did LibararyThing blog their outrage? President Trump’s job is to keep Americans safe. His ban is to try and get better vetting of the immigrants that are coming in. What is wrong with that? How does this harm American’s safety and standing in the world? I’m sure you’d be blogging your outrage if he did nothing and something horrible came about as a result. This ban does not conflict with American and democratic ideals, we welcome refugees and immigrants legally and with proper vetting. I find it very unAmerican that LibraryThing employees are more concerned about the feelings and rights of refugees and immigrants than they are of the citizens that live here. Where’s your concern and outrage for the veteran’s that are dying waiting for medical treatment or living on the street? Where’s your concern and outrage for the the hungry, homeless, neglected and abused here? Where’s your concern and outrage over the racial divide that has overwhelmed the country over the last 8 years? Where’s your concern over the national debt? Where’s your concern and outrage over drugs, crime, human trafficking? I could go on and on. How many of you have opened up your homes to house a few of these families? How many of you have traveled or are planning to travel to these countries to help them out? Why not, what do you fear? Where’s your outrage over the countries Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan and UAE who refuse to take Syrian refugees? or the ones that have stopped taking refugees…Poland, Turkey, Hungary and Egypt?

    I agree that America is a nation of immigrants and it is wonderful. If you open one of those history books in your library you can read about how there were limits set in 1921 on how many immigrants were accepted from different countries, ending mass immigration. You can read about how the immigrants that came here did so because they wanted to make a better life for themselves. They wanted to integrate into society and live the American dream. The same can not be said about most of the immigrants coming over the borders now. Limits and rules must be set to keep America and the people in it safe and free.

    Instead of bashing America and the Executives that run it, if you feel the need to make a statement why don’t you try to spread a little more positive message. If you don’t like President Trump fine, suck it up like many of us have had to do over the years. Writing statements to further divide people is not helpful and I believe just downright unAmerican…what’s next some flag burning and marches up Pennsylvania Avenue?

  61. Shan says:

    Note to LibraryThing, anytime a site or author takes a political stance they risk alienating about 1/2 of the country. Ask yourself if that’s a smart way to run a business. Love Steven King but when he goes on a left wing rant I just want to put the crap down.

  62. Cheryl says:

    I agree with your position 100%. It is a admirable that your staff worked together to debate and develop a statement you could all agree on before posting your position. Many will disagree with it, but that is one of the strengths of our nation — that we can disagree and debate issues. Personally, I enjoy being able to travel the world to meet new people and learn about different cultures. I have hired a number of international students to work at a college library, have hosted an international high school student from Norway for a year, and hosted students from Japan for weekly outings while they were attending a local college. I enjoy learning about other cultures and sharing our culture with others. It is amazing how we have many differences, but in many respects we are all the same.

  63. LolaKay says:

    I am surprised that even here, I can’t escape other people’s political opinions. I thought this was a site about the love of books. I don’t care what you think about the actions of the newly elected president of the United States. No similar statements–as far as I know– were ever expressed about the previous administration, one that I personally disagreed with on many positions and I wouldn’t expect a website that fosters the love of books and reading to do so. With this statement you have blown your credibility in your ability to be impartial here at Librarything. I am so disappointed in Librarything. All this statement does is create unnecessary division in a forum where it simply doesn’t or shouldn’t belong.

  64. Joan says:

    I’m disappointed with this position statement and am withdrawing from the Librarything. Keep your political views to yourselves!

  65. JayDee says:

    I choose to use LibraryThing, and am not disturbed by the expression of opinions in its forums, some of which I may agree with, and some I may not, and which is which is my business. All if which I can ignore to concentrate on LibraryThing itself…
    Should political polarization, or pushing a particular ideology show up in the app itself, then I’ll run for the hills, till then, thanks to the employees and volunteers who provide a product and service that I enjoy.

  66. PeterZed says:

    Absolutely disgusted that you would post this on your site. This should NOT be a forum for pushing a political agenda. I can not disagree more and I did not join your site to obtain your partisan tripe political opinions. Which was wise because yours is not a well-informed or well-reasoned opinion with respect to history or the safety of our country, or even to the EO in question.

    ANY more nonsense like this shows up here or gets pushed into my mailbox and I will join the others who have left LibraryThing.

  67. Mrs Ward says:

    Enough with politics! You think a rule that effected 7 countries was discriminatory? How about a rule that effects *every* country? Stop ALL immigration and visas, except for those for government or business.

    And 1. repatriate *all* non-US citizens immediately…and naturalized citizens who still don’t speak English or are living on any type of government assistance. 2. Return citizenship to logical status: US-born child automatically has citizenship of his parents, not US citizenship.

    3. Repatriate naturalized citizens who want to change America into “back home”: those who have lived here for 10+ years and are now US citizens but are *not* Americans and never will be because they think where they grew up is better than America and America should change to be more like the old country. No, thank you; I’d rather not live in a country in which I need my husband’s permission to travel, child sex is okay, rape victims are executed, or gays imprisoned.

    I’m proud to be an American and want my country to remain America, not be turned into any immigrant’s “back home”. They have to go back. All of them, no discrimination.

    America does not *need* immigrants, even if they need us. All immigrants — legal and illegal — must go back home where they are free to practice their own religion and speak their own language. And if they are refugees because they aren’t free to practice their religion, etc., they need to go back home and fight to make their country more free, just like my ancestors fought to create this country.

  68. arlene says:

    How dare you post your angry political views on this site.
    Especially when they are so slanted and miss-informed.
    Open your eyes and minds and learn the real facts behind what this administration is doing.
    I am a new member, and would have liked to be a part of
    the group, but I am leaving.

  69. Chip says:

    Shame on LT employees for hijacking LT to rant ignorantly. You can make it up to us by posting an equally virulent message about the tyranny of Obamacare: tyranny, yes! Here’s a suggestion: “Coercing a citizen to buy a good or service and threatening them with harm via IRS penalties is evil.”

  70. Weaverbird says:

    Well said and thank you!

  71. nik says:

    When the good people of a society refuse to take a stand against ignorance, then ignorance wins. Thank you!

  72. librarian says:

    I don’t want this political crap coming into my email. That’s not why I subscribed to LibraryThing updates.

    I just unsubscribed from future emails and wanted you to know that I liked being informed of all that’s happening in LT but don’t want to encounter such unexpected propaganda in my email again. I feel tremendously unwelcome at LT right now.

  73. trdsf says:

    Hear hear, LibraryThing, and agreed.

    To those who say all immigrants should (be forced to) leave, do you care to share which Native American tribe you belong to? My own roots in America go back to the 1640s, but there were people here *long* before my IMMIGRANT ancestors.

  74. Michael says:

    Three cheers for Library Thing! Censorship is a possiblity. LT is warning its members. Let’s be mindful, we stand for the First Ammendment and it is already under attack. The enemy is watching. The fires are being readied. Stronghart

  75. Karen says:

    Thank you, LibraryThing librarians. I am the daughter and grand daughter of immigrants lucky to have been born in the US. But regardless of my background, you have expressed my thoughts about the current war against immigrants in the US.

  76. tess_schoolmarm says:

    Please do not try to force your views down our throats. If LT is just going to turn into a liberal rant, I’m out!

  77. Minke says:

    Please, be aware that LibraryThing is not exclusive for the USA. I’m a citizen of the Netherlands and participating in LibraryThings because of the books and their reading.

  78. Bob says:

    Even if all of LT employees agree, does it follow that LT needs to have an official corporate stance? Your effort to relate the topic to libraries is clearly a stretch. The same tortured, extended justifications could be made to comment on any political topic in the future. Agree or disagree, there’s no reason for LT as a corporate entity to take sides.

    • Loranne says:

      We were very careful to mention, repeatedly, that this was a statement on behalf of LibraryThing’s employees—not LT as a whole, much less the larger LibraryThing community, as our founder Tim mentioned here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/247706#5914753.

      • Bob says:

        That’s a silly bit of sophistry. “All of us here at LT would like to make a statement on LT. But it has nothing to do with LT! Really!” If it had nothing to do with LT, then you all abused your access to LT’s audience.

        You took full advantage of the reach of this corporate entity and now are trying to deny that it was a corporate statement. What, none of you have Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, blogs, etc. that you could have used for your collective statement? You’re saying you used company resources for a personal political statement.

        The statement explicitly notes that it is the opinion of the employees of LT. It references LT and its work in support of its points. It notes it was written with the support and input of the employees. It was posted on the official LT blog. But, no, it has *nothing* to do with LT as a corporate body. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

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