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.
It’s February, and with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, some of us are preparing for storytimes and programs that either celebrate the day itself, or look at concepts of love, family and friendship. ALSC’s Intellectual Freedom Committee recently released the Intellectual Freedom Programming Toolkit, created to help you incorporate concepts of intellectual freedom and information literacy into staple programs like these. Here’s 3 ideas inspired by the toolkit that you can use to incorporate these principles into your existing Valentine’s Day storytimes.
Challenges to Critical Race Theory (CRT) being included in educational curricula from elementary schools to universities is making headlines across the United States. A troubling – and perhaps unexpected- related trend is now occurring in school and public libraries: using CRT as a reason to ban books from library collections. As so much of the world is working to move toward greater inclusivity, authors and librarians are seeing the opposite. If you’re a librarian facing a challenge to materials, you’re not alone, and you’re not on your own. While no one can predict the future, it’s certain that CRT challenges to library collections are not going away. As librarians and advocates for free access to library materials and the benefits they provide, it’s our duty to keep materials accessible to all readers.
There is a dramatic surge in materials challenges at school and public libraries across the United States. What can librarians do to protect intellectual freedom? As a local activist turned elected local official, I have a few thoughts on how you can defend against book banning in the community where you live. If challenges occur at a library where you work, you must be unbiased and confer with the leadership of your institution. It’s all about organizing: mobilizing large numbers of people.
“Uh, oh!! That patron looks mad!” I remember thinking as they walked determinedly toward the desk early on a Saturday morning. (Any time on a Saturday morning has always been “early,” as far as I’m concerned.) It quickly became clear they were impervious to my welcoming smile and upbeat greeting, and were kicking up quite a flurry of dust balls from the wind they were creating by waving a book in the air. You’ve probably already guessed where this is going: they were unhappy about a book their kid had checked out several days before. Unhappy? More like furious, steaming, aggrieved, and irate. And on the inside I was panicked: looks like today is when a book will be challenged in my library!
After becoming embroiled in a book challenge in our district. I finally took the proactive step of sharing the values of intellectual freedom with my students.
“May you live in interesting times.” This old curse seems to be visiting us en masse, as 2020 delivers an endless stream of astonishing and devastating developments. As always, librarians have a role to play in helping children and their families to navigate the world in which we find ourselves. To meet their needs, it’s more important than ever that we strive to understand and connect with everyone in the community. Inclusiveness is a foundational idea of intellectual freedom, and it starts with knowledge about the challenges faced by people whose experience may be different from ours. Given that roughly only 12% of credentialed U.S. librarians are Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), it’s safe to say that most of us could learn a thing or two about the BIPOC experience in America. And considering the fact that as of 2018 less than half of children under 15 in the…
Incorporating intellectual freedom into outreach in a fun and engaging manner is an essential component of bringing our core values into the community, and bringing the library beyond its physical borders. Some of the tips listed below can be applied broadly to all types of outreach and communication/collaboration with outside agencies and organizations.