When you say “yes” to an appointment to serve on an ALSC committee, you’re saying “yes” to meeting interesting people, and getting re-energized about topics and issues that are important to our profession and vital to those we serve. The ALSC Intellectual Freedom (IF) Committee serves as a liaison to other ALA Divisions and Committees, but also to a partner institution you might not know well. At Midwinter 2016, the co-chairs of the ALSC IF committee spent a fascinating day with the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) folks and learned a lot.
FTRF is an affiliate – not a part – of ALA. Its purpose is to protect and defend the First Amendment, particularly supporting “the right of libraries to collect – and individuals to access – information.” If you face a challenge in your library, you’ll probably call ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom for advice. But you also want to remember our powerful advocates at FTRF, since that is where passionate attorneys speak for our patrons and for us when legal defense is needed. They’ll go to court, if necessary. FTRF also works to fend off trouble before it gets to litigation by keeping close tabs on state and federal legislation. And they’re on the lookout for developing issues on the free speech and privacy horizon, such as the question of labeling book and media content for youth.
So here are a couple of action items for you to consider: Join the FTRF for as little as $10 if you’re a student, or $35 if you’re not. Get started on your application for a Conable Conference Scholarship for a free trip to an ALA Annual conference if you’re a student or new to the profession. (Applications open in February.)
And volunteer to serve on an ALSC committee to feed – or reignite – your passion.
-Laura Jenkins, ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee co-chair