While James Madison is most often remembered as the drafter of the Bill of Rights, he was also an advocate for open government and transparency. For Madison’s birthday we should pause and consider what Madison might have to say about support for libraries and the press and the state of open government today.
Question: How is the United States’ preeminent body tasked with preventing disease and poor public health to accomplish its mandate if it is barred from doing so?
Let me repeat that. Trump attempted to halt the publication of a book about him just because he didn’t like it. That, my friends, is censorship. It is a violation of the First Amendment. And it is unconstitutional.
On January 4, 2017, the FCC issued an updated Declaratory Ruling of the Restoring Internet Freedom order, finalizing the changes the FCC would like to see done to it’s former Open Internet policy. While we wait to see how internet access might change under, one hurdle to the enactment of these policies might be the U.S. Congress.
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.
Most librarians are aware of books that get challenged and the tools needed to protect their library against censorship, but censorship can also affect our digital content, whether it’s databases, e-books, streaming content, apps or electronic tools. Be aware of the current trend in challenges to these materials and how ALA is working with librarians and vendors to protect access to these great resources.
When discussing policy issues, I think we need to truly think about the decisions we make based on conflicting motives. An important one in school libraries is teaching responsibility versus instilling a love of reading. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about barriers to access for students in school libraries.
Intellectual freedom advocates have many reasons to be excited about the National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries that will be released at the AASL National Conference November 9-11. School librarians champion access to information and opportunities for all learners, and it’s never been clearer than in this iteration of our professional standards.
Fostering Media Diversity in Libraries: Strategies and Actions was prepared in June 2007 by the now-dissolved American Library Association, Intellectual Freedom Committee Subcommittee on the Impact of Media Concentration on Libraries. These resources are still relevant to libraries today within their key responsiblity to provide access to a diverse collection of resources and services.
The House Un-American Activities Committee turned 79 in May. While it may be uncommon to acknowledge anniversaries on the 9th year instead of the 10th, and HUAC itself ceased operating in any way in 1975, given the current climate, it feels relevant again.