The Index Librorum Prohibitorum was a list of books banned for lay Roman Catholic readership. Officially — though the Church was never fully explicit in its means of prosecution of such rules — any individual who dared read any books included on this list risked excommunication and, thus, spiritual damnation.
The American Library Association defines Intellectual freedom as “the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question cause or movement may be explored.”
ALA President issues statement on White House budget; Beaverton School District (OR) bans book, Stick, from middle schools; Are Libraries Neutral? President’s Program tackles heavy subject from multiple angles
One might think of the covert, sometimes illegal FBI surveillance of the Black Panthers, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and various other political dissidents as the petri dish where experiments with overreach were conducted years before they were unleashed on the general public. It is only within past decade or so that we are learning just how extensive the surveillance was through the Freedom of Information Act. It is only now that people like artist Sadie Barnette are beginning to come to terms with what it means.
‘P is for Palestine’ is an Alphabet children’s book written by Dr. Golbarg Bashi and illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi. A local bookstore that helped publish the book was told to distance themselves from the publication and author or they would not be able to participate in a book fair.
Although Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the regulation rescinded, a recent proposal and pilot program by New York to severely limit prisoners’ access to reading material raises serious question about prisoners’ right to read.
The fight echoes the battles libraries have long fought regarding content versus access. These issues are likely to show up in libraries yet again.
Conservatives who decry the evils of political correctness often attack it for demanding self-censorship. Progressives argue that they’re just asking for civil discourse, not enforcing self-censorship. So, who’s right?
Book challenges and authors accused of sexual misconduct; To Kill a Mockingbird; and Privacy and School Libraries
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.