With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, many states have enacted laws that not only restrict a person’s access to abortion services, but also criminalizes helping a person seek an abortion. Now library workers in states with these types of restrictive abortion laws are wondering if providing information about abortion is also restricted under these laws. In July 2022, staff at the Metropolitan Library System (MLS) in Oklahoma were told not to help patrons access information about abortion, the message to staff going so far as the warn them to not even use the word abortion when speaking to patrons. In states with restrictive abortion laws, librarians may have to decided what statues are more important for them to adhere to, state law or the First Amendment.
Have you heard about the Right to Read Act yet? The Right to Read act would extend liability protections to teachers and school librarians and ensure that all students have access to an effective school library staffed by a certified school librarian.
Most state legislative sessions are wrapping up this time of year, so it’s time to revisit bills introduced in Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee, and Idaho that would allow librarians to be criminally charged over materials in the library collection and check their status.
On June 25, 1982, the Supreme Court announced their decision regarding the authority of school boards to censor materials in school libraries in Board of Education v. Pico. Now, on the 40th anniversary of their landmark decision, we are seeing an unprecedented wave of challenges. What happened with the Pico decision? And will it help us now?
A bill introduced to the New Hampshire State House earlier this year expands on prohibiting advocating for communism to include other doctrines, including theories “promoting a negative account or representation of the founding and history of the United States of America in New Hampshire public schools.” Teachers and organizations across the state are concerned about the bill’s implications on how history will be able to be discussed in the classroom.
Both the Indiana and Iowa State Legislatures have introduced legislation regarding criminally charging libraries and librarians over “inappropriate” material. These bills are closely related to widespread book challenges occurring at schools and public libraries across the nation, with people trying to remove books that address certain topics relating to gender, sexuality, and race from library collections. In many cases there is already a clear process for reconsidering materials in a collection, so how do legal defenses play a role in this and what do the bills change?
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.
Learn the future of fair use in less time than it takes to watch (an excellent) webinar! Our recap of “Fair Use Gone Viral: Predicting the Future of Copyright“ featuring Kenneth Crews, copyright scholar and librarian.
Many of the bills use very similar language, referencing “unfair trade practices” and “censorship.” Several bills would require social media platforms to warn users of their specific electronic speech transgressions and give violators a grace period to clean up whatever part of their act that would see them banned. Some bills empower the banned to file consumer complaints with state attorneys general or, like Texas’ SB 2373, to file suit.
Faculty should not push their opinions on students – or make students feel denigrated for their opinions – but they should encourage students to question and strongly analyze their opinions. That’s part of the point of college.