Award-winning poet Dunya Mikhail — who has written during wars in Iraq and the United States — shares her thoughts on restricted writing.
Katie Chamberlain Kritikos: The impetus for this talkback was the controversy surrounding the publication in January of this year of a children’s book called A Birthday Cake for George Washington. Because critics instantly condemned the book for its depiction of smiling slaves, publisher Scholastic Press withdrew the book and halted its distribution.
This withdrawal encapsulates the shifting social context of intellectual freedom in the United States. Traditionally, free speech advocates decry any attempt to suppress expression. A growing emphasis on social justice creates tension between the foundation and the future of intellectual freedom. This post considers the recent controversies over children’s books, trigger warnings, and free speech online to explore this crossroads of information policy.
Judith Platt: Let me begin by saying that, not surprisingly I’m pretty close to a free speech absolutist. I believe our First Amendment and what it represents and encompasses is the basis of every other human and civil right. I do not believe we can ever hope for social justice in the absence of unfettered free speech.
For those of us in the Intellectual Freedom community, it’s easy to take the rattle of pitchforks at the gate as broad popular sentiment. But the truth is, the data prove, most Americans actually believe in, actually value, free speech. They just tend not to be so noisy about it.
Two prominent Palestinian librarians will talk about the special problems confronting Palestinian libraries, what Palestinian librarians are doing to address those problems, and what the international library community can do to help.
I wanted to take a moment to thank the people who recently stood for election to the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) board.
To whom it may concern:
This is an official protest to register a complaint against any and all Koran’s [sic], because of this books [sic] vile content, we recommend that it no longer be allowed in any Public School of Library anywhere throughout the entire United States.
For the seventh year, the Freedom to Read Foundation is offering grants to support a wide variety of engaging, provocative and fun events commemorating Banned Books Week. Applications are open for the 2016 Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund Banned Books Week event grants, sponsored by the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF). Organizations are encouraged to apply for grants of $1,000 and/or $2,500 in support of activities celebrating Banned Books Week (Sept. 25–Oct. 1, 2016).
Applications for the grants will be accepted through May 15, 2016.
After compiling the list of the 2015 Top Ten Challenged Books, the staff at the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) noticed that once again, a high percentage of the titles fell into the category of “diverse content.” What do we mean by diversity?
As many of you know, diversity was the focus of our Banned Books Week 2015. But the Office for Intellectual Freedom is also a member of a larger coalition, embracing many other partners (see last paragraph below). They/we came out this week with an announcement about the focus of the Coalition’s 2016 campaign. Not surprisingly, the push for diverse materials and diverse viewpoints has not disappeared. The press release is below.