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.”
4chan, the image board the Internet loves to hate, is an undeniable cultural force. From Anonymous to doxxing, memespeak to hate speech, lolcats to troll brigades, could 4chan be so bad it’s good? This essay makes four moral arguments in favor of 4chan and its role in the social web: moral outsourcing, anonymity, freedom of expression, and epistemic agency.
Someone is trying to save the world from dangerous ideas by censoring popular comics – but who will save our freedom to read from the censors? The ALA Intellectual Freedom Round Table and Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table are teaming up to bring you a very ‘graphic’ Banned Books Week! Use your intellectual freedom knowledge to join a team of heroes in Escape The Dead End Of Censorship!, a virtual escape room adventure (available in image-enhanced and text-only versions). Also, learn more about our Banned Books Week 2020 programming, including daily webinars hosted by GNCRT and the #BannedBooksWeek in Action social media campaign.
The first task of information warfare is to recognize when you’re in one, because you might not be fighting the information war, but the information war is fighting you. This essay revisits the wartime writing of Archibald MacLeish, poet-warrior, playwright-propagandist, and Librarian of Congress from 1939 through 1944. It explores whether we’re experiencing an information war now, and how the library community can respond.