Far more than just “keepers of the printed book” (our original job description), we are now, perhaps more than ever, guardians of our teens’ emotional as well as intellectual needs. A large part of our job responsibility is to provide a safe space, a blanket of warmth and comfort, a plethora of intellectual and emotional resources to the young adults we serve.
In these politically charged times, librarians and educators on every point of the political spectrum are mobilizing to create and share resources to support the civil discourse essential to maintaining intellectual freedom in our schools and community.
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.
Is Facebook’s offer of free internet access a boon to schools or a ploy to control curriculum?
College educators have often lamented the unintended influence of standardized testing on students’ thinking skills. In my discipline, English, freshman instructors note that the short reading passages appearing on tests have limited students’ ability to follow—or even finish reading—longer pieces. Worse, as NCTE has noted, the tests’ multiple choice format gives readers the impression that every text has one, and only one, definite meaning.
My previous posting explored the phenomenon of Sci-Hub, a site dedicated to providing free access to more than 50 million academic papers without regard to their ownership status or to copyright laws. This post looks at the legal issues involved, in contrast to the previous post’s articulation of the argument for open access.
Sci-Hub is an online repository of over 51,000,000 scientific academic papers and articles, available through its website. New papers are uploaded daily after accessing them through educational institutions. Founded by Alexandra Elbakyan from Kazakhstan in 2011, it began as a reaction to the high cost of research papers behind paywalls, typically US$30 each when bought on a per-paper basis. Academic publisher Elsevier has in 2015 filed a legal complaint in New York City alleging copyright infringement by Sci-Hub.
On just a normal day at work, recently, a young boy came up to me to inquire about the next book in a series. We had the item, but it was currently checked out. I asked for his card and put the item on hold for him. Everything was normal, and then, just as he was leaving, he asked if he could see who had the item checked out.
There is an interesting situation developing in Australia with potential to directly affect Australian authors, publishing, and readers. The Australian government is looking to possibly repeal the ‘parallel importation restrictions’. The PIRs are part of the country’s Copyright Act and prohibit imports by booksellers when an Australian publisher has acquired exclusive rights and publishes the title within 30 days of original overseas publication.