ALA Midwinter 2014

ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee Update & Resources

In January, the ALSC Intellectual Freedom met at Midwinter.  While we talked about many things, the overarching theme was what does Intellectual Freedom mean now?   IF is more than just banned books and book challenges, at its core it’s about access to information and resources. Over the next few months you’ll be seeing all sorts of blog posts from us that will get you thinking about how everyday things may affect Intellectual Freedom, from not compiling a list of kid friendly apps because it goes against your own beliefs about technology, to reading levels, our goal is to get everyone (including ourselves) thinking differently!

In doing some research for a blog post that ties together access, self- censorship and digital natives, I started to come across resources and readings that I thought were helpful and got me thinking in a new way.   I thought they would be important to share with you all.

  • The “What-If” Forum at the CCBC A collection of past questions surrounding Intellectual Freedom — and their answers- hosted by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin- Madison.

I’m still digging through a stack of articles and resources 20+ pages deep and don’t necessarily want to share them until I feel they’re worthwhile, and obviously there’s still more ground to cover that could lead to a rabbit hole of Intellectual Freedom thoughts, but I hope that I at least got other people thinking.

As always, I love to hear from others so let me know your thoughts and if you find any of your own resources.

ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee Member Alyson Feldman-Piltch  is an MLS/MIS student at Indiana University Bloomington, focusing on Youth Services and Multicultural Literature.  When she isn’t following the Red Sox or doing homework, she can be found daydreaming about the beach.  She can be reached at


  1. Jennifer

    I’m not going to say how many hits my library has on the censorship test, b/c it’s just depressing – but to all those out there who feel depressed about their own hits – there’s still hope! Just this year we removed restrictions from children’s cards. It takes time, but we can do better!

  2. Alyson


    Great point! Your results are by no means a “death sentence”. There’s always a chance to change things and make improvements.

    Thanks for spreading the word about that!


  3. Jennifer

    Even though it can be really frustrating to look at your library policies (written or unwritten!) and say “hey, this is NOT what a library should be doing” I think, especially in a small town library with older staff, it’s important to take changes slowly. I learned that the hard way! After all, it was only a few years ago that most kids were restricted to the children’s area etc. Intellectual freedom is actually a pretty modern concept and for older staff, who may be used to “protecting” children and only serving families with the same values they practice in their own family, it can be hard to switch gears and realize that it’s now generally accepted that libraries have a very different philosophy.

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