Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee

Libraries Can and Do Survive Book Challenges: One Year Later

It has been almost one year to the day since my library had a book challenge after a special story time. The theme was Princess and Knight Story Time. Three books were read, one of which was, “Prince and Knight” by Daniel Haack. A prince falls in love with the knight who helps him defeat a dragon to keep his kingdom safe. The story time went off without a hitch, but soon afterward, the library began receiving phone calls about how this book was inappropriate for children. The challenge had been put forth to the library board. Over 100 people attended the board meeting in regard to the book challenge. Nearly 30 people got up to speak to the board, and an overwhelming majority were in support of the book being read during the story time. Support flooded the library, which allowed us to breathe a little easier knowing that…

Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

Advocacy Efforts through Intellectual Freedom

Although “Banned Books Week” is over for this year and most of us have stowed away the caution tape displays, I am inspired to think more about intellectual freedom as an effective advocacy tool during the entire year. What if I just want to talk to others about why kids need to see themselves in the books they read? What if I just want to talk about access and equity? What if I just want to talk about what might happen if we hide all the “uncomfortable” books away? Many of us have updated our collection development policies, printed out the ALA’s Library Bill of Rights, purchased additional copies of challenged books and stand at the ready to defend our collections. But, are we really ready to have the hard conversations?   In my everyday life, few things spark a conversation more than a spunky youth services librarian wearing a “It’s…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Internet Censorship and Libraries

In recent years, schools and libraries have been the target of extreme censorship attacks concerning the materials they house. Children and teens are primarily affected by these attacks, as it limits what information they can freely access at any given time. The problem we face in these battles is determining who has the authority to decide what is objectionable versus what isn’t. But what happens when these attacks occur beyond the scope of reading materials and start to affect other information access points? As librarians, we must inform ourselves regarding censorship in other forms, especially concerning our youngest patrons. Censorship and the Internet: Internet censorship is one of the more underhanded forms of censorship that happen on a day-to-day basis, often without people even knowing it exists. The internet is a vast communication and information network, and industries, organizations, and people work to control access to that information through various…

ALA Annual Conference 2023

More Impactful Programs Coming Up at the 2023 ALA Annual Conference

Amazingly, this year’s ALA Annual Conference is now mere weeks away! To build on the great recent post by the Program Coordinating Committee on what to look forward to however you are engaging, here are some recommendations from our Intellectual Freedom Committee on sessions that will be helpful to all of us in dealing with the difficult situations this challenging time presents. A Rally for the Right to Read: Uniting for Libraries & Intellectual Freedom Thursday, June 22, 6:00-9:00 pm, Hilton Chicago-Boulevard Room Join us to honor the courage and resilience of America’s librarians and their persevering work to protect the freedom to read. Beginning at 6 pm, program attendees will hear from inspiring speakers and recognize the 2023 recipients of the FTRF Roll of Honor Award, the Eli M. Oboler Award, the Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award and the John Phillip Immroth Award. At 8 pm, a…

Intellectual Freedom

Graphic Novels Under Fire in Missouri

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…

Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee

The 2022 Intellectual Freedom Landscape

As 2022 draws to a close, it’s interesting—and important—to consider the impact of last month’s elections on issues of intellectual freedom, particularly on the local level. While this will vary widely from community to community, a good place to stay up to date on these across the country, and other current issues, is ALA’s Intellectual Freedom News, which is updated weekly here.   It offers news organized into categories: Some perspectives on intellectual freedom issues being affected by recent elections are presented in yesterday’s New York Times article on the current “Surge in Book Bans.” If you experience a challenge at your organization, please remember to share information about it with the Office of Intellectual Freedom. As ALA says “Reporting censorship and challenges to materials, resources, and services is vital to developing the best resources to defend library resources and to protect against challenges before they happen.” It takes all of…