The Intellectual Freedom Round Table, as well as the Office of Intellectual Freedom, are excited for the diverse slate of programs at LibLearnX. A registration link for the conference can be found here (please consider attending!), but the programs we’re most excited for, as one can imagine, deal directly with issues of intellectual freedom.
First up is Problematic Authors and Problematic Works – An Intellectual Freedom Q&A. As one might expect, the Q&A seeks to more deeply understand “the distinction between challenged materials and challenged authors [which] has largely gone undifferentiated and unexplored.” This session will be, in part, collaborative, as IFC members will be able to “facilitate discussion…and solicit feedback from the general membership.”
Next up is Advancing Social Justice Through the 9th Principle of the Code of Ethics. Do you have questions about the 9th Principle? While seeking to promote a “professional framework of equity, diversity, and inclusion which is a ALA Strategic Direction, this session provides a deeper understanding and interpretation of the newly adopted principle through presentation and Q&A.”
Last but not least is 50+ Years in the Making: Claiming Social Justice as a Core Value. On a historical note, “[the] ALA Council at Midwinter Conference 2021 approved The Resolution to Condemn White Supremacy and Fascism as Antithetical to Library Work.” What does this mean for intellectual freedom? Does it change the way we approach neutrality in libraries? This program will help navigate the answers to these questions by fostering “small-group dialogues about the role of neutrality in libraries and [exploring] options for centering social justice as a guiding principle.”
In a year that’s presented many challenges to intellectual freedom, it’s our hope that these programs will not only provide valuable resources for those fighting against censorship, but will also serve as a reminder that no one is alone in this struggle.
Michael Kirby is an Assistant Professor/Reader Services Librarian at Kingsborough Community College. He received his MLS from Queens College, the City University of New York and serves as the 2021-2022 Publications and Communications Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table.