Indeed, however difficult it might be to differentiate the men who authored these books from their words on the page, it is vital to our First Amendment rights and the promotion of intellectual freedom that we do not let that difficulty interfere with our duties as librarians. Patrons possess, and should continue to hold, the right to decide for themselves whether or not they want to read these materials.
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.
In 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to address two questions regarding compelled speech: whether requiring a cakeshop owner to create a cake for a same-sex wedding violates the First Amendment, and whether requiring pregnancy crisis centers to post information on abortions violates the First Amendment. The court’s decisions may have far reaching consequences for compelled speech.
With its three distinguished leaders over the half-century, the office has transformed into a thriving resource for librarians when First Amendment rights have been trampled. And we couldn’t have done it without you. Here are a few stats that highlight the work we’re proud to continue, and the obstacles our team is determined to tackle with your support.
I recommend the book for anyone interested in the First Amendment and freedom of speech issues. The first half of the book is compelling and timeless while the last half of the book is specific to the current moment and political environment.
What is missing from much of the controversy is the real reason that NFL players are choosing to protest during the national anthem. Just as Rosa Parks’ protests were not about buses, these protests are not about the U.S. flag or the national anthem. They are, instead, about systemic racism, police misconduct, and the need for change in a country where it seems the only people free to exercise their First Amendment rights are white, male, and straight.
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.