Aux Armes Citoyens! Confronting the Extreme Right in French Public Libraries

Jo Kibbee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The intrusion of the extreme right-wing National Front party into French public libraries in the 1990s mobilized librarians to confront political interference and to defend the democratic values inherent in libraries. This paper reviews the actions of the extreme right in imposing their political ideology on library acquisitions and services, and the reactions they provoked. Their intervention called into question the mission of public libraries, political autonomy, acquisitions policies and practices, and the role of the librarian. French librarians, the nation, and ultimately the international community were alerted to the National Front's subversion of libraries to a political agenda. These incidents triggered practical and philosophical responses as librarians developed strategies to combat political interference, confronted issues of censorship and the challenge of developing pluralistic collections, and asserted the librarian's role in safeguarding democratic principles. The response of library associations in France is also discussed.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003


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