Article 19 of the [Universal Declaration of Human Rights] states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
This was the most powerful experience I have ever had of the people’s right to assemble, of the people’s right to free speech and freedom of expression! While there was certainly some negativity, most of what we saw, heard, and experienced was positive and hopeful.
Librarians are simple creatures, for the most part. We want to uphold the First Amendment, provide access to information, find the right answer to an asked question, and maybe recommend someone a good book. We are committed to education, accessibility, intellectual freedom, innovation, and maybe cardigans.
Librarians Sarah Houghton and Andy Woodworth recently launched an independent special project, Operation 451, which directly addresses several of the core principles of librarianship.
With things being said, written, and shared that fall under the First Amendment and intellectual freedom post-election, intent and context are crucial.
As this first year as a contributor to the ALA OIF blog comes to a close, I’ve asked some of my system colleagues to reflect on what Intellectual Freedom means to them, personally and professionally.
Colleges increasingly withdraw invitations to controversial speakers, raising questions of free speech, public safety and the role of education.
Katie Chamberlain Kritikos: The impetus for this talkback was the controversy surrounding the publication in January of this year of a children’s book called A Birthday Cake for George Washington. Because critics instantly condemned the book for its depiction of smiling slaves, publisher Scholastic Press withdrew the book and halted its distribution.
This withdrawal encapsulates the shifting social context of intellectual freedom in the United States. Traditionally, free speech advocates decry any attempt to suppress expression. A growing emphasis on social justice creates tension between the foundation and the future of intellectual freedom. This post considers the recent controversies over children’s books, trigger warnings, and free speech online to explore this crossroads of information policy.
Judith Platt: Let me begin by saying that, not surprisingly I’m pretty close to a free speech absolutist. I believe our First Amendment and what it represents and encompasses is the basis of every other human and civil right. I do not believe we can ever hope for social justice in the absence of unfettered free speech.
For those of us in the Intellectual Freedom community, it’s easy to take the rattle of pitchforks at the gate as broad popular sentiment. But the truth is, the data prove, most Americans actually believe in, actually value, free speech. They just tend not to be so noisy about it.