OIF and Intellectual Freedom in Chicago

ALA Council, ALA Washington Office, Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE), Freedom to Read Foundation, Intellectual Freedom Committee, Intellectual Freedom Round Table, International issues, Legislation, LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund, Midwinter Meeting/Annual Conference, Office for Intellectual Freedom, Stand For the Banned

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ALA’s 2017 Annual Conference is in Chicago, and the Office for Intellectual Freedom will be there staffing committee meetings and programs.

Committee meetings and programs are open to any attendee, and they’re often a good way to learn about the business of ALA and its intellectual freedom initiatives. You can find all of these sessions and others about intellectual freedom in the conference schedulerdownload your own IF Calendar so you don’t miss a thing!

Stand for the Banned

Stand for the Banned recording booth bannerStop by the Stand for the Banned recording booth to share how your favorite banned book has altered your perspective or a story on how you battled censorship. Your message will be professionally videotaped and featured on the Banned Books Week YouTube channel and promoted during Banned Books Week (Sept. 24-30, 2017). The booth is hosted by the Office for Intellectual Freedom and SAGE Publishing. Thanks to a partnership with the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative, the booth will be stocked with banned translated works, along with classics, graphic novels and thrillers, to inspire you to speak out against censorship.

The recording booth will be open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. You can find the Stand for the Banned recording booth outside the exhibit hall, near the registration counter in McCormick Place. Look for the red carpet and lights!

In a hurry? RSVP now, and we’ll put you on our “Fast Pass” list to jump to the front of the line.


Intellectual Freedom and Open Access: Working Toward a Common Goal?
Saturday, June 24, 8:30-10 a.m.

What is the relationship between intellectual freedom and open access? How and where do they intersect? Intellectual freedom is a principle and a right, one as old as libraries. Open access is a response to the increasing pressure of publishing costs on individuals and institutions.

Panelists and domain experts in these areas will explore the rich and complex intersection between intellectual freedom and open access (OA) in libraries, why OA publishing is important for the library community, and how we can use the intellectual freedom banner as a tool to move the library field closer to more accessible information. (Sponsored by the Intellectual Freedom Round Table)

Intellectual Freedom 101
Saturday, June 24, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

At this one-hour fast-paced session you will learn about the intellectual freedom activities of ALA and affiliated organizations, get all the details on the IF programs planned for this conference and other upcoming events, and find out how you can get involved in the intellectual freedom workings of the Association.

This is your opportunity to ask questions and meet Jamie LaRue, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom; Martin Garnar, president of the Freedom to Read Foundation; Helen Adams, incoming chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee; Charles Kratz, incoming chair of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table; and Sara Dallas, chair of the Committee on Professional Ethics.

Our Voices: Strengthen Your Collection with Diverse Narratives
Saturday, June 24, 3-4 p.m.

Take the Our Voices pledgeThere has been a recent unprecedented explosion of writing by small and independent publishers, as well as self-published creators. But much of this diverse content never makes it to library shelves.

Our Voices is an ALA initiative that connects diverse, quality literature to libraries and booksellers. In this panel program, Our Voices board members — literary leaders from a variety of backgrounds — will explain how your library can diversify and strengthen collections with unique voices and underrepresented publishers. Attendees will bring back to their libraries unique stories about the power of diverse literature and step-by-step instructions on how to access these collections. (Co-sponsored by the Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services)

Desegregating Public Libraries: The Tougaloo Nine
Sunday, June 25, 1-2:30 p.m.

Tougaloo NineIn 1961, Geraldine Edwards Hollis and eight of her fellow students from Tougaloo College entered a whites-only library in Jackson, MS and were arrested. This act of protest helped spark the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi, yet it has been largely lost to history. More than 50 years later, Ms. Hollis connected with a public library director and an artist from North Carolina and her story is being retold and remembered. At this program, Ms. Hollis will tell the story of the Tougaloo Nine, reflect on the Civil Rights movement, and inspire participants with both the story of her struggle and her enduing love of reading and libraries. (Co-sponsored by the Committee on Professional Ethics, Public Library Association and Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services)

Scary Stories: A Documentary (Now Showing @ ALA)
Monday, June 26, 9:30 a.m.

This full-length documentary delves deep into the challenging of children’s books in America by looking at one of the most challenged children’s books of the last 30 years, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. It includes a number of ALA representatives and librarians who have confronted the thorny issue of book challenges. It discusses the last 30 years of book censorship as well as explores the differences in views in regards to censorship and age appropriateness. While the film is still receiving a few post production touches, you won’t want to miss these features in it:

  • A unique meeting between a book challenger and the son of author Alvin Schwartz
  • Interviews with scholars in folklore, children’s literature and history
  • Interview with author R.L. Stine

Cody Meirick, producer and director, will be available for questions and answers after the film. (View trailer)

Practical Privacy for the Library: An Intellectual Freedom Issues Briefing
Monday, June 26, 10:30 a.m.

Efforts to roll back privacy laws and regulations and the unchecked collection and use of individuals’ online data are challenging libraries’ ability to protect their patrons’ privacy. Learn about the tools and tactics you and your library can employ to implement practical and cost-effective tactics for protecting your users’ online privacy. This fast-paced presentation will identify the most pressing privacy issues in libraries and provide practical solutions to those issues that will help secure your patrons’ data and shield them from unwanted surveillance. Topics to be addressed include configuring and managing the integrated library system; using encryption to secure the privacy of data and communications, including instruction on how to install free HTTPS certificates on library websites using Let’s Encrypt; and providing anonymous web browsing using TOR and other tools.

Banned Abroad: Stories of International Censorship 
Monday, June 26, 1-2:30 p.m.

Not every country enjoys the First Amendment rights granted to Americans. International book banning and censorship restricts diverse narratives and ideas, but one avenue provides an entry to opportunities: U.S. publishing. In this panel discussion, attendees will hear from publishers and translators about how books that were banned in their country of origin found allies within U.S. publishing and translating — and how they can find homes on your library shelves. This program will encourage a broader understanding of international literature, as well as the risks and complications that come with the decision to translate and publish “controversial” works. (Co-sponsored by the Office for Intellectual Freedom, the Association of American Publishers and the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative)


Intellectual Freedom Round Table Awards Reception & Member SocialIFRT Member Social
Saturday, June 24,  7-9 p.m.

Everyone is invited to the 2017 Awards Reception & Member Social. IFRT’s John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award and Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award will be presented, food will be served, and a cash bar will be available. This year, the IFRT Awards Reception and Member Social is being combined with a promotional event for the Leroy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund. Donations to the Merritt Fund will be accepted and encouraged at the reception. Come enjoy food and festivities at this intellectual freedom celebration!

Freedom to Read Foundation Member Reception 
Thursday, June 22, 5-6:30 p.m.

Everyone is invited to the 2017 Freedom to Read Foundation Reception! Join the foundation as it recognizes this year’s Roll of Honor awardee. Meet the 2017 Conable Scholar and enjoy a lively “meet and greet” with the trustees and members of the Freedom to Read Foundation.

Committee/Round Table Meetings

Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC)
I: Friday, June 23, 8:30-10 a.m.
II: Friday, June 23, 10:30 am-12:30 p.m.
III: Sunday, June 25, 12:30-2 p.m.
IV: Sunday, June 25, 3-4:30 p.m.
V: Monday, June 26, 3-4 p.m.

IFC Privacy Subcommittee
I: Sunday, June 25,  8:30-10 a.m.

Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT)
I: Friday, June 23, 3-4:30 p.m.
II: Monday, June 26, 8:30-10 a.m.

Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE or Ethics)
I: Friday, June 23, 1:30-3 p.m.
II: Monday, June 26, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

Committee on Legislation & Intellectual Freedom Committee Joint Meeting (COL/IFC)
I: Sunday, June 25, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) meetings
Thursday, June 22, 9 a.m.-12 p.m., 2-5 p.m.

The day-long meeting of the Freedom to Read Foundation is open to all interested parties. Of particular interest is the summary by attorney Theresa Chmara of current FTRF litigation efforts, and an overview of statewide legislative issues affecting privacy and the right to read. In the evening, join the foundation for a “meet and greet” reception.


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