Each year the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) distributes grants to support activities that raise awareness of intellectual freedom and censorship issues during the annual Banned Books Week celebration. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” Banned Books Week runs from Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2021 and the grants of $1,000 or $2,500 are offered through the Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund. Visit the Freedom to Read Foundation online to apply and learn more about past recipients and their projects. Deadline: June 4, 2021.
AASL formally dissuades school librarians from labeling items according to content and reading level.
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.
Have you ever considered the limits of your speech as a library worker? Intellectual freedom is a core value of the library and information science profession, however that does not mean that library workers have special privileges from other workers. With that in mind, let’s shift gears to a real life scenario in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
In our polarized environment, the censorship and outright banning of children’s books which some deem to be controversial or objectionable remains a major concern for libraries. Intellectual freedom champion Pat R. Scales returns to the fray with “Books under Fire: A Hit List of Banned and Challenged Children’s Books, Second Edition,” published by ALA Editions in cooperation with ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF). In this matchless guide, updated to focus on titles published since 2015 which have been the target of challenges, school and public librarians, LIS students, and classroom educators will get the assistance and support they need to defend challenged books with an informed response while ensuring access to young book lovers.
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.
Government interference in classroom curricula. Financial pressures and conflicts of interests. The death of tenure. Trigger warnings, cancel culture, censorship, and the chilling effect. With all the pressures threatening open inquiry and free expression on campus, you might wonder: “Does academic freedom have a future?” Join the IFRT Reads community to explore this question with Oboler Award-winning author and academic freedom scholar, Henry Reichman, and his 2019 book, The Future of Academic Freedom.
The ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee has just released their Intellectual Freedom Programming Toolkit. Intellectual freedom is not just for Banned Books Week, and this toolkit offers ways to provide bitesize servings of important IF concepts at any time of year. Rather than replacing existing programs with IF-centered activities, we can embed those ideas in popular programming that’s already being done.
This month we would like to highlight IFRT Member Molly Dettmann.