Intellectual Freedom News

Intellectual Freedom News 12/4/2020

OIF Seeks Information on 2020 Censorship Incidents.

Recently, the office has noticed a rise in attempts to censor books that address racism and police brutality. LGBTQIA+ books and programs also continue to be targeted with censorship.

“Reporting challenges not only provides essential data that allows OIF to identify and track censorship trends,” said OIF Director Deborah Caldwell-Stone, “it also helps OIF to improve support for the library workers and educators who are protecting users’ right to access diverse books, displays, and programming.”

Report Censorship

Should I Report Censorship?

The ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom (“OIF”) encourages everyone to report any and all instances of censorship and challenges to materials (including databases), programs, speakers, filtering and author visits. No matter is too insignificant. If we let instances of censorship slide by or decide to just take certain books off the shelf to avoid conflict or save time, we undermine the First Amendment and our own profession.

A Parler content filter, denying the keywords “climate change,” “Trump” and “election.”

Living in the Filter Bubble

We should consider whether tech companies are taking personalization too far, but we should also resist the urge to embrace that customization to an extent that might inhibit personal growth and evolving perspectives. And we need to continue to make sure the next generation understands the importance of looking at multiple perspectives, especially if it is going to be harder to do so organically as we absorb information.

Kurt Vonnegut Slaughter House Five Book Cover

Happy Birthday, Kurt Vonnegut!

Today is both the late Kurt Vonnegut’s birthday and Veteran’s Day. Vonnegut himself was both a banned author and a veteran of World War 2. His most challenged, banned, and burned book is Slaughterhouse Five. This book in particular shares his World War 2 experience. And yet it, among many other books penned by veterans, remains on the frequently banned and challenged lists. Today, read a book by a veteran — maybe Slaughterhouse Five to start.