April 3, 2015

Delaware Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee receives the 2015 Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award

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The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) of the American Library Association (ALA) announces that the Delaware Library Association (DLA) Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) is the 2015 recipient of the Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award.

The award will be presented to the Delaware Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco at the IFRT Awards Reception from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Friday, June 26.

The Delaware Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee has been actively involved in school library challenges. Interest groups challenged the books “Brave New World” and “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” and the “Delaware Blue Hen Awards” recommended reading list. The DLA IFC built up a coalition of local, state and national groups to gain insight, advice, ideas and support. They responded quickly to support librarians, attend meetings, write emails and strategize with organizations to provide guidance. They have reached out through workshops, meetings, the DLA listserv and informational brochures to share information and coordinate efforts with librarians, library staff and educators. This led to the creation of a new DLA IF Section to share and document censorship and privacy challenges. The DLA IF is inspiring education efforts so no library staff members in public or school libraries are isolated or unsure if faced with a challenge. They are making a positive difference in intellectual freedom rights for all of Delaware libraries.

The Hodges Award recognizes an organization that has developed a strong multi-year, ongoing program or a single, one year project that exemplifies support for intellectual freedom, patron confidentiality, and anti-censorship efforts. The award is named after Gerald Hodges, an ALA staff member from 1989 to 2006. Chapter relations and intellectual freedom were his passions and he willed a portion of his estate to support those efforts. The award consists of $1,000 and a citation.

April 3, 2015

IFRT accepting nominations for 2016 Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award

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The American Library Association (ALA) Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) is seeking nominations for its 2016 Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award. The biennial award is presented for the best published work in the area of intellectual freedom and consists of $500 and a citation. Nominations will be accepted through Dec. 1, 2015.

The award was named for Eli M. Oboler, the extensively published Idaho State University librarian known as a champion of intellectual freedom who demanded the dismantling of all barriers to freedom of expression. Works to be considered for the award may be single articles (including review pieces), a series of thematically connected articles, books or manuals published on the local, state or national level in English or English translation. The work must have been published within the two-year period ending the December prior to the ALA Annual Conference at which it is granted. The 2016 award is for work published between 2014 and 2015.

The Oboler nomination form is available on the ALA website. Nominations and supporting evidence should be sent to:  Shumeca Pickett, ALA, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611. Telephone: 312-280-4220 or 800-545-2433, ext. 4220. Fax: 312-280-4227. Email: spickett@ala.org.

The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) provides a forum for the discussion of activities, programs and problems in intellectual freedom of libraries and librarians; serves as a channel of communications on intellectual freedom matters; promotes a greater opportunity for involvement among the members of the ALA in defense of intellectual freedom; promotes a greater feeling of responsibility in the implementation of ALA policies on intellectual freedom.

February 18, 2015

Newly Revealed Records Detail 2013 Decision to Remove Persepolis from CPS Classrooms

During the week of March 11, 2013, directives were issued by administrators at Chicago Public Schools’ Fullerton school network and Lane Tech High School to remove Marjane Sartrapi’s acclaimed graphic novel Persepolis from school libraries and classrooms on the grounds that the book contained inappropriate language and images.

The directive to remove Persepolis from CPS’ libraries and classrooms became public after students at Lane Tech alerted their colleagues in the school’s journalism program. Bloggers and critics publicized the directive and the apparent effort to ban the book from CPS classrooms and students took to the streets to protest the book’s removal. As the protests mounted, CPS administrators slowly backtracked on the initial directive; CPS Chief Barbara Byrd Bennett eventually issued a letter denying that there was any effort to ban the book and limiting the directive to remove Persepolis to 7th grade classrooms.

ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Freedom to Read Foundation were involved from the beginning, supporting the students and organizations that sought to keep the book in CPS classrooms, publicly protesting the apparent censorship of a critically praised work of literature, and seeking information about the events leading up to the decision to remove the book. In response to a FTRF Freedom of Information Act request that asked for all correspondence and electronic communications related to the decision to remove Persepolis from CPS classrooms, we only received the directives and letters that had already been publicly disclosed, and a copy of the agenda for the chief of schools meeting on March 11, 2013.  That document contained no information at all about Persepolis or the decision to remove or recall the book. We remained in the dark about who had filed the initial complaint about Persepolis and who had made the decision to remove the book from CPS classrooms.

Then Jarrett Dapier, an intrepid MLIS candidate at the University of Illinois’ Graduate School of Library and Information Science, filed his own FOIA request in order to gather materials for his paper on school censorship. And in December 2014, CPS provided Dapier with the emails and correspondence we – and other organizations – were told did not exist in 2013.

Ben Joravsky of the Chicago Reader has already written about the contents of the emails. With the permission of Mr. Dapier, we are now sharing the actual emails and correspondence – which reveal that, contrary to CPS’ public statements in 2013, there was in fact an effort to remove Persepolis from all schools and libraries in CPS. The emails detail the initial complaint, the decision to remove the book, and the eventual modification of the original directive to remove the book from CPS classrooms and libraries. (It’s important to note that Persepolis remained in school libraries only because a strong reconsideration policy – CPS Policy 604.7 – prevented its removal without sufficient review and due process.) The emails are an object lesson in casual censorship, the ability of one person to pass judgment on a work of literature, and the chaotic decision-making that occurs when a school system fails to have policies in place to address demands to censor classroom materials.

Our thanks to Mr. Dapier for his initiative and perseverance in obtaining these public records.

January 21, 2015

IFAction: Media’s First Impressions and Analysis of President Obama’s Exiting SOTU

This is a special mid-week IFAction roundup of news and op-ed articles articulating and assessing issues relevant to intellectual freedom in President Obama’s final State of the Union address last evening.

Obama just lumped the Internet in with trains, bridges and Keystone XL. Here’s why that’s a big deal.

Obama promises to promote net neutrality, broadband

Obama leaves out patent reform

The first tech moment of the State of the Union happened before Obama started speaking

Obama: I haven’t forgotten NSA reform

 

January 20, 2015

Did you report that challenge?

 

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OIF is working to finalize our numbers for 2014 challenges and our annual list of most frequently challenged books. We collect information for our challenge database from both media reports and those submitted by individuals and, while we know that many challenges are never reported, we strive to be as comprehensive as possible.

We would greatly appreciate if you could send us any information on challenges in your state or region that you are aware of from 2014. The final deadline for reporting 2014 challenges to OIF is Friday, February 27, 2015. Even if you think we probably already know about it, send it to us anyways. Or maybe there are more details we can add to our database. Many times the status is left unknown because the case was reported before there was a resolution. So updates are also encouraged.

Challenges reported to ALA by individuals are kept confidential and we will cross-check your report with existing entries in the database to avoid duplications. You may report challenges by filling out and submitting the database form available in a variety of formats at www.ala.org/challengereporting. If you have any questions at all, please contact oif@ala.org. Please share with your library listservs.

Many thanks for all of your help and support!

January 19, 2015

IFAction News Roundup, January 11 — January 17, 2015

The Office for Intellectual Freedom sponsors IFAction, an email list for those who would like updated information on news affecting intellectual freedom, censorship, privacy, access to information, and more. Click here to subscribe to this list. For an archive of all list postings since 1996, visit the IF Action archive. Below is a sample of articles from January 11 – January 17.

Filtering, Censorship, Whistle blowing, Misinformation, Cyber Threats/Bullying, Free Press, and Free Speech Articles  

EU response to free speech killings? More internet censorship

Facebook restricts violent video clips and photos

ACLU joins fight over Pennsylvania law curbing inmate speech

Arizona’s Mexican-American Studies Ban Questioned By Appeals Judges

[Foundation for Individual Rights in Education] Endorses University of Chicago’s New Free Speech

Access, Corporate/Government Secrecy, the Digital Divide, Net Neutrality, and Intellectual Property Protection Articles

Facebook Will Push Amber Alerts to Users’ News Feeds

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on Community Broadband

National Broadband Policies: Brought to You by Cities

Republican bill: Net neutrality protections without reclassifying broadband

Republican net neutrality bill would gut FCC’s authority over broadband

Privacy, Surveillance, Hacking, and Cybersecurity Articles    

President Obama just made a big privacy announcement. Here’s what you need to know.

Remarks by the President at the Federal Trade Commission

FACT SHEET: Safeguarding American Consumers & Families

Apparent Islamic State backers hack U.S. military Twitter feed

F.B.I. Is Broadening Surveillance Role, Report Shows

January 19, 2015

IFAction News Roundup, January 4 — January 10, 2015

 

The Office for Intellectual Freedom sponsors IFAction, an email list for those who would like updated information on news affecting intellectual freedom, censorship, privacy, access to information, and more. Click here to subscribe to this list. For an archive of all list postings since 1996, visit the IF Action archive. Below is a sample of articles from January 4 – January 10.

Filtering, Censorship, Whistle blowing, Misinformation, Cyber Threats/Bullying, Free Press, and Free Speech Articles  

Rage Against the Machine Defy Ethnic Studies Ban, Says Arizona Schools Chief – KRS-One also targeted for “promoting resentment toward a race or class of people”

Teaching Hip Hop Illegally Promotes Ethnic Solidarity, Arizona Official Says

Parenting in the Age of Online Pornography

Salman Rushdie: ‘I Stand With Charlie Hebdo, as We All Must’

Free speech, university codes collide

Access, Corporate/Government Secrecy, the Digital Divide, Net Neutrality, and Intellectual Property Protection Articles

IRS officials to discuss library tax form program

Our System Is So Broken, Almost No Patented Discoveries Ever Get Used

The Internet of Things Plans to Make Libraries and Museums Awesomer

School buses bring Wi-Fi to impoverished families

What is a library: Quaint vestige of the Gutenberg era, or cutting-edge panacea for social needs?

Privacy, Surveillance, Hacking, and Cybersecurity Articles    

Law would protect students’ online privacy

Sony Hackers Threaten U.S. News Media Organization

Books and Browsers: Privacy for Digital Library Patrons

Protecting Consumer Privacy while Building a Smarter Grid

Snowden: US started rash of cyberattacks

 

January 16, 2015

School Librarians and Intellectual Freedom web meeting

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Since October, our office has taken calls from 52 librarians seeking censorship support. 39 of those cases involve schools.

OIF hosts quarterly web meetings with state IFC chairs from ALA Chapters and AASL Affiliates. These meetings are an opportunity for state IFC chairs to “meet” each other and to discuss state, local, and national intellectual freedom issues; projects & programs OIF and various chapter IFCs are working on; and how ALA can provide assistance and communication to your groups.

Because so many of the requests for support are regarding challenges in the schools, we are squeezing in an extra meeting at a different time to before our next quarter meeting (2/23/15).  Hopefully, this will be more accessible to school librarians. This meeting will be specifically about School Librarians and Intellectual Freedom. Theirs is a vital perspective to hear.

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 21, 3:30pm CST (4:30pm EST, 1:30pm PST, 2:30 MST)

All State IFC Chairs and/or Representatives are welcome to attend. We’ve usually had plenty of virtual meeting room space (max 100) so if you know of a school librarian interested in IF issues or has struggled with a challenge, please invite them. I really want to strengthen the connection between AASL and OIF. Please contact me if you’re interested in participating. I will email you more details about how to access the web meeting online. kpekoll@ala.org

Kristin

January 9, 2015

IFRT accepting nominations for the 2015 Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award

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The American Library Association (ALA) Intellectual Freedom Round Table(IFRT) is seeking nominations for its 2015 Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award. The Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award recognizes an intellectual freedom focused organization that has developed a strong multi-year, ongoing program or a single, one-year project that exemplifies support for intellectual freedom, patron confidentiality and anti-censorship efforts. The award consists of $1,000 and a citation. The deadline for nominations has been extended to Friday, Feb. 13.

The award is named after Gerald Hodges, who joined the ALA staff in 1989 as director of membership services and the Chapter Relations Office. Hodges was the associate director of communications and marketing at his death in 2006, but intellectual freedom and chapter relations were still his passions. A charter member of the ALA Legacy Society, he willed a portion of his estate to support ALA’s intellectual freedom efforts. Memorial contributions in recognition of Hodges came from many friends, colleagues and ALA chapters following the establishment of the Gerald Hodges Fund.

The Hodges nomination form is available on the ALA website. Nominations and supporting evidence should be sent to:  Shumeca Pickett, ALA, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611. Telephone: 312-280-4220 or 800-545-2433, ext. 4220. Fax: 312-280-4227. E-mail: spickett@ala.org

The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) provides a forum for the discussion of activities, programs and problems in intellectual freedom of libraries and librarians; serves as a channel of communications on intellectual freedom matters; promotes a greater opportunity for involvement among the members of the ALA in defense of intellectual freedom; promotes a greater feeling of responsibility in the implementation of ALA policies on intellectual freedom.

December 29, 2014

IFAction News Roundup, December 21 — December 27, 2014

The Office for Intellectual Freedom sponsors IFAction, an email list for those who would like updated information on news affecting intellectual freedom, censorship, privacy, access to information, and more. Click here to subscribe to this list. For an archive of all list postings since 1996, visit the IF Action archive. Below is a sample of articles from December 21 -December 27.

Filtering, Censorship, Whistle blowing, Misinformation, Cyber Threats/Bullying, Free Press, and Free Speech Articles  

Licensing Speech in the Big Easy

Sony to release ‘The Interview’ after all

Sony Threatened to Sue Someone for Tweeting Screenshots of Leaked Emails

Pandora cites free speech to defend against artist demands for royalties

Ohio Conservative ‘Christians’ Freak Out Over Homeowner’s Zombie Nativity Scene, Threatens Lawsuit [VIDEO]

 

Access, Corporate/Government Secrecy, the Digital Divide, Net Neutrality, and Intellectual Property Protection Articles

The fair use case to show The Interview if Sony will not

National Impact of Library Public Programs

Hotels ask FCC for permission to block guests’ personal Wi-Fi hotspots

A Year in Review (and a Look Ahead): Time for Lifeline Reform

A controversial YouTube video could create a crazy new form of copyright

 

Privacy, Surveillance, Hacking, and Cybersecurity Articles    

NSA released documents about improper surveillance on Christmas eve

Obama: North Korea’s hack not war, but ‘cybervandalism’

China condemns cyberattacks, but says no proof North Korea hacked Sony

Apple issues first automatic bug update for Macs

Risks in Using Social Media to Spot Signs of Mental Distress