Fight Censorship! Updated Resources from the Office for Intellectual Freedom
Book challenges have been a hot topic in news and politics lately. The American Library Association (ALA) Executive Board recently released a statement affirming its opposition to widespread efforts to censor books in U.S. Schools. OIF has tracked 155 unique censorship incidents between June 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021. With the high volume of challenges right now, OIF has made available a clearinghouse of resources on its Fight Censorship page.
Did You Experience A Challenge In 2021? Report to the OIF!
With the increase in book challenges happening in schools and libraries around the country in recent months, it is more important than ever that challenges and other instances of censorship be reported to the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF). If you or someone you know has experienced any challenges to library or school materials, online resources (including databases), programs, speakers, displays, reading lists, and author visits in 2021, the OIF encourages everyone to report any instance of censorship they encounter.
FCC to Open Second Application Window for Emergency Connectivity Fund
In December 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act which distributed $7 billion to increase broadband access in the United States. $3.2 billion was apportioned to create the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Additionally, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) detailed provisions of an Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) which included over $7.1 billion to support remote learning in schools and libraries. The ECF program focuses on schools and libraries, helping fund costs of laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and other connectivity equipment. These funds are available to a wide range of libraries, including public, school, tribal, academic, research, and private libraries, in addition to library consortiums.
Detained for his Words — Sri Lankan Poet Ahnaf Jazeem is an Amnesty International Banned Books Week Case
For Banned Books Week each year, Amnesty International highlights stories of writers, publishers and artists under attack for their published work. In this blog post, we delve into one of this year’s six featured cases – the Sri Lankan poet Ahnaf Jazeem. He has been detained without charge or trial since May 2020. Read on to understand the reasons for his arrest and how to help with his case and for the other featured Banned Books Week cases.
Redlining Takes Digital Form: How Can Libraries Help?
Historically, redlining refers to the practice of banks using maps to withhold loans for certain areas, usually poor communities of people of color. Now redlining takes digital form as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) get to choose where to build their networks and what types of plans are available. In today’s society, a reliable internet connection is a necessity, often required for job applications, scheduling travel, connecting with others, online education, and more recently working remotely from home. Those without an affordable high speed internet plan are at a distinct disadvantage, and communities with limited ISP options will again face obstacles for growth. Poor communities, often people of color, are being denied options for reliable internet plans when compared to white communities in the same area.
Intellectual Freedom on College Campuses: An Update on Current State Legislation
The term intellectual freedom has been recently tossed around by state lawmakers to justify new laws targeting college campuses. The recent laws and policy changes mainly target one of three things: faculty tenure, curriculum, or freedom of speech. This post will provide an update on new laws or incidents happening in various states.
“Libraries are What Unite Us”: A Conversation with Dan Rather About His Book “What Unites Us”
Dan Rather, veteran journalist and author of the book What Unites Us: Reflections of Patriotism, sat down with Adult editor for Booklist Donna Seaman to discuss his book and the important role libraries play in sustaining our democracy. Their discussion also touched on the importance of funding libraries, the free and independent press, and science literacy.
ARPA Pulls Through for Library Funding and Broadband Assistance
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) featured stimulus checks, extended unemployment benefits, and funds COVID-19 vaccines. It also provides $200 million in funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). In addition to supporting the IMLS, ARPA also included additional provisions for broadband assistance, such as funds to be appropriated towards schools and libraries to support remote learning.
ALA’s Broadband Resolution and the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
In response to the exclusion of library broadband funding from the Consolidated Appropriations Act (COVID-19 relief package passed in december), ALA has passed a “Resolution in Support of Broadband as a Human Right.” Now Congress has passed the American Rescue Plan Act which includes the Emergency Education Connectivity Fund. #LibrariesStrong
Free Speech: Illusion vs. Practice
This Supreme Court decision, DeRay Mckesson v. John Doe, is not just a win for the Black Lives Matter movement but for free speech and First Amendment rights across the board.