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.
By guest contributor E. F. Schraeder. These are risks and possibilities when a librarian opts to honor PRIDE month or recognize LGBTQ authors and readers throughout the year in other ways. Each June almost like clockwork, it seems some library or other is on the receiving end of public noise: shame or praise, for hosting or cancelling an event with LGBTQ community members in mind.
During National Library Week, the Office for Intellectual Freedom discusses the past year’s trends. Of the 566 books that were targeted in 2019, here are the most challenged, along with the reasons cited for censoring the books.
Queer users are challenging Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites for suppressing and censoring their content. In the face of information suppression, librarians can push back against censorship through facilitating awareness and strategies of promoting representation and visibility.
By: guest contributors Callan Bignoli and Dustin Fife. However, and even if you can guess where we are going, we want to make two things unmistakably clear: There should be affordable and accessible tools that help anyone and everyone remember their history and archive it as they see fit. More importantly though, it should not be Google or any other major, data-driven, for-profit corporation.
By: guest contributor Julia A. Nephew. “To me this has been a reminder of how invisible LGBTQ people in history still are in many school curriculum,” author Robin Stevenson said of District 200 canceling her Oct. 2 talk. “And it does make me feel like it’s important that all kids are aware of the really significant contributions of LGBTQ people throughout history, and it’s important that LGBTQ kids and teens in particular see their own lives and identities reflected in the books they read.”
By: guest contributor Richard Price. Loudoun County Public Schools took an important first step towards inclusive support of all students with its diverse classroom libraries initiative. We can only hope that it will not bend to the forces of intolerance. Schools and libraries have a public duty to depict the world as it actual is and not as some people wish it were.
ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) is continuing its partnership with ALA Publishing to offer two exciting eCourses early next year.
ALA responds, “In particular, the public library has a responsibility to represent a broad range of materials in its collection and to meet the needs of everyone in the community it serves – not just the most vocal, the most powerful, or even the majority.”
By: Guest Contributor Augustus Wachbrit. Great literature and social scientific research overlap in that they often concern topics of interpersonal, political, or societal importance; when either were to be lost, human dignity surely suffers. Being vocally opposed to the censorship of the arts or the sciences is a necessity these days—one of the reasons why Banned Books Week is a fantastic initiative.