Intellectual Freedom News Editors Kate Lechtenberg and April Dawkins

Making the Intellectual Freedom News: How Do Our News Editors Make Selections?

Each week, we work to compile the news and organize it so it can be easily skimmed by those of you who subscribe to the blog. Recently, we’ve been comparing notes about what we’ve learned as we gather the Intellectual Freedom News during our first year working for OIF and we thought you, as the readers, might be interested in learning more about the process and our reflections. Here’s a sample of our recent conversations…

Photo of exhibit called Our Family Tree at Utah Museum of Natural History

Freedom to Use Your Mind

To fully understand intellectual freedom, it seems crucial to consider what kinds of barriers to these activities might exist in our local communities and broader American society. The ones I initially think of include self-imposed determinations — I can’t question that! — to outside restrictions — library users in this district can’t access this book! — but perhaps there are others.

Compelled Speech

Compelled Speech in the New Year

In 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to address two questions regarding compelled speech: whether requiring a cakeshop owner to create a cake for a same-sex wedding violates the First Amendment, and whether requiring pregnancy crisis centers to post information on abortions violates the First Amendment. The court’s decisions may have far reaching consequences for compelled speech.

Magazines displayed on a rack Photo Credit by CC 2.0 Ken Hawkins

Teen Vogue Challenge

This past summer, patrons around the country challenged libraries about their subscriptions to Teen Vogue. The online article that caused the controversy was published on the Teen Vogue website and was about anal sex. The article was not published in the paper copies of the magazine, but patrons called on libraries to end Teen Vogue subscriptions because of its online content. A public library director, who wishes to remain anonymous, shares how she and her library staff worked through the challenge.

Kristin Pekoll holding a True Stories of Censorship Battles in America's Libraries edited by Valerie Nye and Kathy Barco

Your Library is Unclean!: An Interview with Kristin Pekoll

Before she worked for ALA, Kristin experienced a very public and personal challenge to books when she was the young adult librarian at the West Bend Community Memorial Library. In her current position, Kristin has the opportunity to use this very difficult experience from her past to help librarians who are facing challenges today. Here is Kristin’s story.

Cover image Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, paperback edition, 1998.

‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’ Celebrates 80 Years!

Hurston’s book was the first novel published by an African-American woman, and her story of the search for love and self-identity is one that we can all relate to. As historical fiction with a specific setting, “The novel provides a rare glimpse into life as it was for some African Americans living in the Florida in the early 1900s, post-slavery.”

OIF staff

OIF By the Numbers

With its three distinguished leaders over the half-century, the office has transformed into a thriving resource for librarians when First Amendment rights have been trampled. And we couldn’t have done it without you. Here are a few stats that highlight the work we’re proud to continue, and the obstacles our team is determined to tackle with your support.