By: Ken Sawdon I was surprised to see many people over the internet excited about the UN Human Right’s Council’s resolution to, among other things, denounce intentional internet blackouts a […]
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.
As librarians, we need to take a queue from social culture and use it to advance our profession by looking at what attracts people in today’s world and creating that attraction focusing on libraries. The way we share information is continuously changing. Think about how information was exchanged ten years ago….emails, online searches, Youtube. These are all still relevant sources but the way we receive information has changed, and it’s all done within the parameters of fair use by using small clips or images and transforming them into a completely new product.
As authors, librarians, teachers, and parents talk about cancelled school visits, there has been a lot of speculation and very few answers. This post includes the official statement from the Round Rock Independent School District and Phil’s response to the statement with his account of the details and staff comments leading up to his disinvitation.
To highlight the theme for Choose Privacy Week 2016 – students’ and minors’ privacy – the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee approved a new document, “Library Privacy Guidelines for […]
The Office for Intellectual Freedom is looking for a news intern! We’re soliciting applications for a paid part-time internship with the office for the 2016-2017 school year. The ideal […]
With each new week of the 2016 Presidential election, the competition has been getting more and more intense, and even the most civil candidates have begun slinging mud at each other. Riots from some candidate’s rallies have gotten ugly, with real life disputes finding their way to children’s classrooms. Even if children can’t vote, they are still being influenced by the political climate. This election is teaching one thing, hate is acceptable.
Letters to the Editor are more important than you might think. They show support for the librarians and teachers involved, they highlight the quality of the book and intellectual freedom, and most importantly they publicly show an individual’s willingness to stand up for the First Amendment and the right to read.