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.
“The Culture War Has Come for Higher Ed,” proclaimed a recent headline in The Chronicle of Higher Education, summarizing ongoing attacks on intellectual freedom and the closely related concept of academic freedom. Although the same risks apply to academic libraries and librarians, they are often excluded from this discussion about freedoms required for teaching and research. Recognizing that academic librarians have academic freedom is only the first step, albeit an important one.
The Supreme Court has decided that schools have an interest in keeping an eye on what students post on social media sites in order to avoid “substantial disruption” on campus. But just where does campus end and how disrupting must speech be for schools to act and stay on the right side of the First Amendment?
The law is clear: employers get to decide whether or not an employee’s latest Tweet is grounds for termination and the First Amendment, though meant to be a shield from government overreach, is no shield from private consequence.
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.
This month, 129 years after his birth and almost 82 years after the adoption of the Library Bill of Rights, it seems fitting to remember the work done by Forrest Spaulding in creating a bold and straightforward document that continues to inform the library profession in the United States and around the world.
Should servicemen and women be exposed to material some might deem anti-American? There are two answers to this question: the first, which addresses the specific case of Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, and the second, which appeals to the universal right to free speech usually espoused by those on the political right, but seemingly abandoned in this case.
This is an interview with Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Director of the Office of Intellectual Freedom, and, as such, provides information on the Office’s and its stance regarding Scholastic’s recent decision to pull Dav Pilkey’s The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future.
A quick intellectual freedom and privacy recap from ALA Midwinter Virtual.
Agenda-driven books regarding COVID-19 and vaccines are appearing as top results on retail searches. Those of you who have worked library reference are most likely accustomed to patrons showing you an Amazon page on their phone asking “can you get me this book?” Performing a book search for “COVID-19” via both Amazon and Barnes and Noble shows books suggesting debunked conspiracy theories within the first ten results. Additionally, searches on OCLC WorldCat reveal that books with such misleading or debunked information wind up on the shelves of public, college, and high school libraries.