Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee

Advocacy (for yourself and the library) in Difficult Times

In 2021, Amanda Jones was named School Library Journal School Librarian of the Year. A little more than one year later and Ms. Jones is now embroiled in legal actions due to online harassment related to her work in promoting the right to read and diverse library collections. The lead article in the November/December 2022 issue of American Libraries, “When It Happens To You,” is about what to do when you get caught in the middle of a book challenge. It’s all well and good to say “stand up and fight for the right to read”! But that is often easier said than done and, in these divisive times, can be very scary. Read on for some tools we hope will help in this situation.

Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee

The Freedom to be Scared!

When doing outreach for grade school children my favorite books to book talk often come from a genre that is frequently challenged: Horror! It’s a delight to discuss scary stories because these conversations reveal how children are their own best selectors and even censors when they are given the ability to choose what they read. 

Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee

Librarians on the Front Lines

Sadly, it was not surprising in late August when USA Today ran a headline calling librarians the “perfect target” for those who would ban books from schools.  Librarians are often the purchasers of materials and the people to suggest and connect students with books of interest.  Of course, they—we—would be under attack from those who would limit access to information of which censors do not approve. 

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Considering Reconsideration  

“In 2021, the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) tracked 729 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services, affecting 1,597 books.” (ALA.org) How have these challenges impacted your library? Do you find yourself working harder each month to defend the collection, displays, and programming choices at your library? Providing library services to children has always required a solid background in intellectual freedom and over the past year the importance of access to strong tools, policies, and procedures has become paramount. Banned Books Week 2022 is September 18-24, the week before the 2022 ALSC National Institute in Kansas City, Missouri. To highlight best practices and share resources in support of Intellectual Freedom, ALSC Managing Children’s Services 2021-2022 Committee is honored to be hosting a round table discussion on managing material reconsiderations. If you are attending National Institute, we invite you to join us to discuss trends in intellectual freedom, review…

- ALA Annual Conference 2022

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…