Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee

For Your Toolkit


Maybe you will never have anyone challenge or even question an item in your library. But if you’re like most of us, at some point someone will ask (nicely or not so nicely) whether something really belongs right there, where children can get at it. Are you ready to respond?

OIF9_300Our profession is passionately devoted to the First Amendment, and your colleagues have already constructed a robust support system for you. Take a look at the resources available to you:

  • The Intellectual Freedom Manual, now in its ninth edition. It may be a little pricey for your personal bookshelves, but your library should invest in a copy. Quick explanations and deeper explorations of intellectual freedom topics and issues, copies of core IF documents, and advice and guidelines on creating policies for your library – there’s a lot in this book, produced by the Office for Intellectual Freedom and available through the ALA Store.

Speaking of which:

  • The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom is the first place you should turn if you face a material challenge. In addition to educating librarians (webinars!) and the public about intellectual freedom, this office provides confidential support to librarians undergoing a challenge.
  • And when things get really difficult, the Freedom to Read Foundation rides to the rescue. It’s an independent but affiliated First Amendment legal defense organization.
  • Our own ALSC website has Professional Tools for Librarians Serving Youth. This page has links to a wealth of information, with an entire section on Intellectual Freedom.

And finally,

  • The ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee. We serve as liaisons to the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee, the Intellectual Freedom Round Table, the Freedom to Read Foundation, and to our peer divisions YALSA and AASL. At Midwinter and Annual conferences, we spend a lot of time with these other folks, learning about issues affecting children and advocating on their behalf. We also work on creating tools to help you advocate for the children you serve. You’ll hear more about our current projects in the months to come.


Laura Jenkins, co-chair, wrote this piece for the ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee.

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