As chair of the Texas Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee for 2016-2017, part of my responsibilities included planning IF-related programming for the TLA Annual Conference in San Antonio in April 2017. The committee had decided that we wanted some basic instruction on what intellectual freedom is and why it’s important in our daily library lives.
It seems the upper Midwest has a problem with Sherman Alexie. Within one month, his 2007 novel ‘The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian’ has been challenged in two school districts.
While intellectual freedom issues can quickly become complex and nuanced, introduction to the ideals doesn’t necessarily have to be. A simpler introduction may stick easier than an overly complicated one.
Long after we won the Cold War, communism is still a fighting word for many in the United States. And materials for children and young adults are the source of most challenges to books and intellectual freedom, so this combination was a combustible one.
The novel, 1984, is experiencing a resurgence in the wake of the scandalous language, and ideas emanating from Washington D.C. over the past few months. A democratic minded public has little patience with the idea of ‘alternate facts.’ … In recognition of the importance of this imaginative act, theaters across the country and the globe are choosing to provide free screenings of Michael Radford’s film version of ‘1984.’
Milo Yiannopoulos’ actions have stirred conversations in the library community, surrounding free speech, student rights and collection development. Three intellectual freedom fighters — our OIF director, a reference librarian and a library director — offer their perspectives on “the Milo situation.”
We are often asked why we have libraries in the age of Google. We just have been given the perfect opportunity to prove our worth. Will we open the discussion and grab it?
How does an intellectual freedom fighter deal with someone like Milo Yiannopoulos? Does the First Amendment guarantee a forum for every kind of speech?
Yiannopoulos had, and still has, the right to say whatever he wishes. But he’ll have to live with the consequences when the audience he courted just doesn’t find him funny anymore.
Forbidden Culture Week 2016 was curated and hosted by librarians, but it explored issues far beyond traditional libraries. There were 30 events during the week that explored writing, music, art, and the internet, with events led by musicians, historians, scholars, librarians, and writers.