Intellectual Freedom and the freedom to read children’s and young adult literature is a hot button topic and has been a hot button topic for the last few years since the pandemic. Books, specifically books with LGBTQI+ characters and books centered around racial issues, are being used for political clout and to whip up the ire of conservatives throughout the United States. Groups are systematically organizing and fueling the fire to remove books from library shelves across the country–both public and private school libraries. Missouri schools are no exception. On August 28, 2022 Missouri Senate Bill SB 775 was signed into law causing school librarians across the state of Missouri to pull graphic novels from their shelves in a panic. School district leaders required their librarians to pull any graphic novels that met the restrictions of the law in hopes that they could circumvent a possible lawsuit. Some district leaders…
Category: Intellectual Freedom
ALA 2022 Annual Conference Intellectual Freedom Round-Up
If you attended the ALA 2022 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. this past June, then you know how great it was to be back in person and how many presentations and meetings there were that focused on book challenges and threats to intellectual freedom. If you missed those sessions or if you were unable to attend, below are just a few highlights. Legislation Many states across the country are targeting intellectual freedom through legislation. Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom, reported noting three trends in legislation: 1. Targeting Librarians and Educators. This trend includes eliminating protections under the law for librarians and educators and allows suits by private citizens against them, meaning that a parent could sue a librarian for content in the library. 2. Parental Rights. This trend focuses on what legislators are calling “divisive issues” meaning content in the classroom or library that focuses…
ALA ANNUAL 2022 and Intellectual Freedom
Intellectual Freedom Round-Up
It’s been a busy time for the vital work of protecting the right to read, and so here are some updates from the Public Library Association (PLA) 2022 Conference and National Library Week
Intellectual Freedom: You Are Not Alone!
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.
Hats. I wear many of them. Literal hats of winter because in New York it gets cold. But other hats too. Teen librarian, school librarian, media literacy skills teacher, colleague, friend, relative, potential problem predictor, in-house worrier, tech-trouble-shooter, mask/face covering supplier, hand sanitizer distributor, and so many more hats.
Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Book Banning
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.
Standing Strong and Together for Children’s Rights to Access Diverse Books
Among the primary benefits of being an ALSC member have always been the opportunities to network and get involved in the work of our organizations. However, lately, those opportunities have taken on even greater importance. The recent rise of book challenges and censorship in communities across the country is a call to youth services librarians to come together as we stand up in defense of the freedom of children across our nation to access diverse books and information that represent the richness of humanity and against blatant attempts to erase our history and diversity.