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.
There seems to be an intellectual freedom trend with Libraries being attacked from within by their Library Boards. No matter who wins these debates, it is the community that will always lose. The most recent example comes out of Lafayette, Louisiana. Here, the Board rejected a grant for a voting rights program because it did not feature both sides.
This is the story of the Library Director who was threatened by the County Sheriff over her Library’s support of the Black Lives Matter movement in Summer 2020. This launched an investigation and a protest in Douglas County, Nevada.
If there was any instance this year in which you asked yourself, “Is this censorship?” then you should report it to the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom by New Years Eve. If it made your library spidey senses tingle, it is probably worth a report. Read on for more information on what censorship looked like in 2020.
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.
There is a massive amount of news, all day, everyday. You may have missed this, but I assure you it is important. In any other year, this would be the top news story for the day: The Justice Department brought an Antitrust Lawsuit against Google. Read more for a brief discussion on Antitrust Lawsuits from the 1890s to now!
Not only is today Stephen King’s birthday, but Banned Books Week is also just around the corner! Throughout his entire career, King has been a frequently challenged and banned author. Let’s all take a moment to reflect on and celebrate the King of modern American horror.
Have you ever put together a really good Banned Books Week display? I loved setting up my annual display and hearing parents discuss The First Amendment, censorship, and literature with their children while working my reference desk shifts. As we all know, this year is totally different so here are some Banned Books Week ideas from a youth librarian!
There is a mural at the University of Kentucky that was done in 1934 by Ann Rice O’Hanlon. This mural depicts both Black people and Native American people in derogatory, racist ways including slavery. In 2017, the university commissioned a response piece by Black artist Karyn Olivier. The two pieces are now intertwined, yet the university wants to remove the O’Hanlon piece in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.
June is Rainbow Book Month, presented by the ALA Rainbow Round Table. Their work is especially important in its 50th year, with censorship of Rainbow library books, programs, and displays on the rise. Since the OIF began tracking Display Challenges in December 2016, 40 of the 54 reported challenges are for LGBT content (74%). Many libraries have policies for book challenges but displays are not always specifically written in.