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Tutor profile: Nils S.

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Nils S.
MLIS graduate seeking virtual library reference position
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Questions

Subject: Library and Information Science

TutorMe
Question:

If a library patron comes to the reference desk and asks for assistance in accessing books on a highly discomforting topic, such as weapons or explosives, how should the library professional respond? Should they call the police, tell the patron they cannot provide materials on this subject matter, or help the patron with finding the requested materials?

Inactive
Nils S.
Answer:

Since library professionals are obligated to serve the needs of all members of the public, they must provide the requested services on the subject matter in question, even though it may be deeply disturbing and the library professional may be unsure of the patron's intentions. Understandably, they would have good reason to be concerned since the patron might be seeking information on how to use guns for a mass shooting or explosives for an act of terrorism, but since the librarian has a professional obligation to serve the needs of all patrons, it is best to err on the side of professionalism and provide the requested services. However, it would be well-advised for the librarian to have a mental health professional on site to consult with the patron in case they show signs of mentally unbalanced or threatening behavior, and they can express their concerns to the police after serving the patron's needs.

Subject: World History

TutorMe
Question:

In the film "Judgment at Nuremburg," the German defense attorney makes the argument that the whole world is equally responsible for Hitler's Germany, citing the examples of the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, the Vatican's Concordat with Hitler, and the American industrialists who helped Hitler to rebuild his armaments. What implications does this pose for the question of responsibility for the Holocaust?

Inactive
Nils S.
Answer:

The German defense attorney's argument makes highly valid points since the acquiescence of the Western democracies and the Soviet Union's Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler enabled him to proceed with his goals of conquest and genocide. In addition, while Allied soldiers liberated the death camps, the Allied governments' refusal to rescue Jews allowed the Nazis to carry out the Holocaust. This raises profound implications for the issue of responsibility for the Holocaust since it is easy for people to subscribe to the "Good War" narrative which emphasizes the heroism and nobility of the Allies in defeating the evil Nazi regime, but while the Nazis were undoubtedly evil and were responsible for implementing the Holocaust, the Allied governments also shared guilt through their deliberate neglect of European Jews, shutting their doors to Jewish refugees and refusing to mount rescue operations or bomb the gas chambers. By studying these aspects of World War II, students can attain a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of the Holocaust and who shared responsibility for it.

Subject: US History

TutorMe
Question:

What does the case of Ohio congressman Clement Vallandigham reveal about Northern opposition to Lincoln during the Civil War? More broadly, what ramifications does his case pose for the issue of free speech versus government censorship in wartime?

Inactive
Nils S.
Answer:

Clement Vallandigham's case is highly illustrative of the significant Northern opposition to Lincoln's wartime policies. While most Northerners were strongly supportive of the Union war effort, a substantial minority were vehemently opposed to Lincoln's policies that were considered controversial, such as the suspension of habeas corpus, emancipation and the military draft, and favored negotiation with the Confederacy. In a broader sense, the Lincoln administration's handling of the Vallandigham case poses significant ramifications for the issue of free speech during wartime since it raises questions about the limits of acceptable dissent and the degree to which the government can censor free speech in the interest of national security, which continues to be a highly relevant issue in contemporary times.

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