Tessa Kelso

Tessa Kelso and the Los Angeles Book Burners

Last week, the California Library Association announced this year’s inductees into the California Library Hall of Fame. One of them is Tessa Kelso, the sixth head librarian of the Los Angeles Public Library. It’s worth looking back at this formidable librarian and an unusual episode in the history of intellectual freedom where she took the offensive against a would-be book burner by suing him… and winning.

The Pride Library at The University of Western Ontario and its founder, James Miller. Photo CC 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

The Queering of the Public Library

Recently in The American Conservative, long-time conservative writer and pundit Rod Dreher wrote about ‘Queering the Public Library.’ Dreher, a resident of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, complained about the materials and programming offered by the Free Library of Philadelphia. At issue were those books and programs related to library’s Pride Month Celebration, including ‘information on bullying, safety, and coming out,’ ‘biographies of important LGBTQIA+ figures in the community,’ and two programs: a singer/songwriter celebrating diversity and a drag show.

Hockey Stick Graph

Climate Science Data and Digital Collections: Issues and Responsibilities

Due the widespread adoption of digital materials, dwindling budgets, and economies of scale, more library collections aren’t under the control of librarians, who in many cases have essentially ceded control and collection development to outside vendors. Most of the time, the system works well and offers a wealth of material, but it has troubling implications for intellectual freedom.