Publication Date

Fall 2009

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS)


Library and Information Science


Debra Hansen

Subject Areas

History, United States.; Library Science.; Peace Studies.


Just like other segments of society, librarianship was affected by the Vietnam War and the parallel antiwar movement, though in varying degrees. The war precipitated a debate among librarians about whether, in a profession that prides itself on neutrality, it is appropriate to speak out on political matters. In California, a state that was both heavily dependent on military spending and the home of a strong antiwar movement, some individual librarians did take a stand against the war, as did the California Library Association. Primarily, though, librarians concentrated on providing information to citizens to help them make informed decisions, coming up with innovative ways to serve patrons when material on the war was needed most. This research shows that despite their personal sentiments, California librarians endeavored to offer collections that showed both sides of the issue. The Vietnam War did not significantly change library philosophy in itself; however, as one of the issues that caused societal changes in the late sixties and early seventies, the war had an impact, perhaps even a lasting one, on library service.