The Lords yesterday voted to reject a clause in the Government's Terrorism Bill which could have seen the humble librarian penalised for doing their job. The clause would have made it an offence to directly or indirectly encourage terrorist acts by virtue of supplying someone (who could turn out to be a terrorist) with certain books or information. The clause appeared to put an undue onus on librarians to screen its readers.
As Lord Butler argued ". . .the task of a librarian is to make the books in the library available to students or others who want to use them. It should not be, as I think this amendment implies, the task or duty of librarians to have to discriminate between borrowers in order to satisfy themselves that those borrowers do not include people who might be moved to terrorism or use the book for the purposes of terrorism. "
Read the full debate here and a newspiece here.