Rhonda Evans rose from ALA Emerging Leader to Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table in just one year – and shows no signs of slowing down. She brings expertise, energy, and encouragement to her new IFRT leadership role, and invites all library workers to get involved in intellectual freedom issues. Keep reading to learn about Evans’s journey, perspectives on intellectual freedom, and priorities as IFRT Chair for 2021-22.
If your library were faced with an intellectual freedom challenge, would your board have your back? The United For Libraries President’s Program for ALA Annual Conference 2021, “Challenges & Crises: Preparing Your Board of Trustees,” delivered earned wisdom and practical tips to ensure your library board is willing and prepared to uphold intellectual freedom. Read on to learn how your library board can turn a library challenge into an opportunity for community recharge.
The ALA Annual Conference offers numerous opportunities to explore and celebrate intellectual freedom. This post highlights fourteen intellectual freedom-themed conference sessions, including live panel discussions and on-demand sessions, the Intellectual Freedom Awards Celebration, and business meetings. As you plan your #ALAAC21 calendar, consider adding these sessions to your schedule!
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 Resolution to Condemn White Supremacy and Fascism as Antithetical to Library Work was adopted during ALA Midwinter 2021. The resolution calls on ALA to “commit to explicitly incorporating existing and developing antiracist and antifascist frameworks.” But are Ibram X. Kendi’s approach to antiracism and Robin DiAngelo’s concept of white fragility the only methods to inform ALA’s antiracist frameworks? Not if these BIPOC thinkers can help it.
Celebrate Freedom to Read Week February 21st to the 27th by learning more about book challenges, catching up on freedom of expression news, or curling up with your favorite banned book! This post recognizes banned author Stephenie Meyer. While critics fault Twilight for negative depictions and poor writing, I prefer to think I enjoy the series for its nuanced exploration of privacy. Escape to the mossy forests of Forks and a time before high-speed internet, smartphones, and social media to explore the privacy themes in Twilight!
As libraries undertake important DEI and social justice work, questions arise about complicity, censorship, privacy, and the chilling effect. Frosty Windows, Frosty Mirrors will feature expert panelists discussing their current thinking and practice on these important and challenging issues. After the panel, attendees will have the opportunity to share their perspectives with panelists in break-out room listening sessions. Seats are filling up fast – register today!
The future of intellectual freedom is ours to decide. To commemorate Human Rights Day, share your views on the IFLA Statement on Libraries and Intellectual Freedom in IFLA-FAIFE’s survey by January 15th. Then, develop your ideas further with an article abstract for the 2021 special issue of IFLA Journal on intellectual freedom due March 1st.
Among the many challenges of 2020, there is another challenge we’ve faced down in the past and will continue to face in the future: book challenges. Censorship doesn’t take a sick day – and book ban and challenge statistics reported by the Office of Intellectual Freedom prove it. But for the first time, our annual commemoration of the fight against book censorship and other content challenges went virtual-first. Inspired by the Harper’s Index, this post measures Banned Books Week 2020 by the numbers – and shows how intellectual freedom advocates made virtual-first count.
Surveillance. Censorship. Disinformation. Distrust. The information war marches on. This post offers specific suggestions for safeguarding one’s own mind in the “fog and friction” of information warfare, including privacy, “ladder reading,” open-mindedness, asking critical questions, and taking a “trust pause.”