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.
Due the widespread adoption of digital materials, dwindling budgets, and economies of scale, more library collections aren’t under the control of librarians, who in many cases have essentially ceded control and collection development to outside vendors. Most of the time, the system works well and offers a wealth of material, but it has troubling implications for intellectual freedom.
Reporting challenges to ALA helps us provide better information and support to librarians and teachers facing similar challenges. OIF uses the reports for statistical purposes, allowing us to analyze trends, share data on censorship issues, and educate the public about what books are under threat and why. Please send us any info on challenges in your state or region from 2016.
A new report from a UK digital textbook provider has shown that many students are fine with teacher snooping if it ends up leading to increased classroom performance. The report, titled “University of the Future,” implies a strong benefit to allowing teachers to track what students have read and how long they have spent studying.
Salt Lake County Library Services is sponsoring a year of inclusion. Every library has a month and a theme. All staff meetings with all 19 branches emphasize inclusion and shared experiences.
January 13, 2017 – All Douglas County libraries (OR) to close, Email Privacy Act, and a fond farewell to Nat Hentoff.
ALA’s 2017 Midwinter Meeting is in Atlanta, GA and the Office for Intellectual Freedom will be there staffing the different committee meetings and programs. Committee meetings and programs are open to any attendee, and are often a good way to learn about the business of ALA and its intellectual freedom initiatives.
At a Des Moines Public Schools School Board meeting last month, board members wore black armbands to honor the legacy of students’ right to free expression, including the right to peaceful political protest. The armbands were a visual link from the recent student walkouts and protests in Des Moines and around the country back to the landmark 1969 Tinker vs. Des Moines Independent School District Supreme Court decision that has forever tied Des Moines to the issue of students’ rights.
Alongside your personal resolutions for 2017, consider making several professional goals related to intellectual freedom.
ALA Town Hall Meeting at Midwinter, Operation 451, Mein Kampf, literary protests and the controversy around Milo Yiannopoulos’ book.