On March 2, 2022, some of the members of the ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee, led a discussion on intellectual freedom and youth services for the ALSC Community Forum. Here are some of the resources and issues to consider that were discussed.
The ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF) staff have noted that this year already is turning into a year like no other. While normally the OIF is notified of about 300 challenges in a single year, already in 2022 there have been over 300 challenges. What we are seeing is not a single parent/guardian concerned about a single book read by a single child. We are seeing a national wave of well organized, well funded attacks on the freedom to read. These attacks have already seeped into legislation in many states under the guise of ”harmful to young children” and ”parents’ rights.” The organized attacks on freedom to read and intellectual freedom are likely to become political wedge issues as well in the upcoming elections.
What to do to advocate for intellectual freedom
These are just a few of the resources highlighted in the forum.
- Grassroots 101: How to Save Your Library from Organized Censorship. This blog post should be able to get you started in your advocacy efforts.
- ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom. Your membership dollars at work! This office is your first stop in dealing with challenges. Note the OIF YouTube channel with helpful training clips!
- Fight Censorship. This site has many links to help in learning about advocacy skills and censorship issues.
- Intellectual Freedom Programming Toolkit. This toolkit provides programming ideas around the theme of intellectual freedom.
The important thing to remember, is that you are not alone. In addition to these resources, there are people that can support you. Starting with the OIF is a good place but look to your colleagues and your community as well. ALSC is here for you, feel free to contact the ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee with concerns and topics you’d like to see addressed. For the full recording of the forum see: https://www.ala.org/alsc/shib_login/?q=member-center/community-forums (ALA member login required).
Allison G. Kaplan is the co-chair of the ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee. Content for this blog has been contributed by members of the Intellectual Freedom Committee.