In a black and white photograph, Virginia Prince, a white woman, poses standing. She holds her hands behind her back and turns out one foot. She is wearing a flowered dress, a string of pearls, and heels. She smiles.

On the Body: What Transgender History Can Teach us About Censorship

By: guest blogger J. M. Ellison. Intellectual freedom, at first blush, appears to be a matter of the mind. In fact, free thought and its circulation is intimately tied to bodies. We owe a debt to transgender people who have been at the front of the struggle for both intellectual freedom and bodily autonomy. The best way to repay them is to support the ongoing struggle for transgender liberation.

John Steinbeck

Happy Birthday, John Steinbeck!

John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was a Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning American Author, best known for the literary classics The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, and East of Eden. Born in Salinas, California, he lived to 66, passing away on December 20th, 1968 in New York City. His writings are taught in schools across the US, which have been challenged often.

Stick by Andrew Smith

The “Uncompromising” Compromise of Beaverton School District’s Book Ban

Beaverton School District is creating quite a buzz but for all the wrong reasons. Parents and teachers recently received notice that the school’s superintendent decided to ban Andrew Smith’s young adult novel, Stick, from the majority of its students. Read the letter from ALA and the Oregon Library Association.


A (Short) Reading List to Make Your Gun Debate Smarter

As librarians interested in intellectual freedom, we should welcome patrons who seek out something more substantial in their quest to understand these troubling events, no matter which side of the political spectrum they come to the library from. I’ve taken a few moments to compile a list of books relevant to discussions about mass shootings and the gun debate. The list includes fiction and nonfiction, and hopefully includes a spectrum of ideas and ideologies.

author Rainbow Rowell

Happy Birthday, Rainbow Rowell!

Do you ever feel that deep-down sense of comfort that comes from just knowing that you’re in a role that is right for you? For some, it might be their role as a parent; for others, it might be kicking butt and taking names at their job. For Rainbow Rowell, it’s her role as a writer. Rowell, author of several Young Adult (YA) and adult books, including the award winning novel Eleanor & Park, does not pin point one experience or time when she knew she wanted to write; she simply describes herself as having “always been a writer.”

Sam Helmick Twitter

I Support the Freedom to Read and Iowa Libraries!

Call to action from the Iowa Library Association leads to an explosion of #librarylove from librarians, readers and authors. “If you’re a library professional in the state of Iowa, help support library staff in Orange City. Send them your support. Make sure they know you have their back. ILA and ALA are working on this with them. Write letters to the local newspaper. Support via social media as well!” – Dan Chibnall