Panelists listen to William Shorter, Jr. during the “Challenges & Crises” live session for ALA annual 2021.

From Challenge to Recharge: Preparing Your Library Board to Uphold Intellectual Freedom

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.

ALA Annual Conference 2021 logo.

Explore Intellectual Freedom in these #ALAAC21 Sessions!

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!

IFRT Reads The Future of Academic Freedom

“So That Teachers May Freely Teach and Students May Freely Learn”: Safeguarding the Future of Academic Freedom with Henry Reichman

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.

Headshots of Glenn Loury, John McWhorter, Erec Smith, Coleman Hughes, Chloé Valdary, and Irshad Manji.

Antiracism, Revisited: Considerations for Antiracist Frameworks from BIPOC Thinkers

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.

Freedom to Read Week

“My Head is Sort of Private”: The Twilight Saga as Privacy Parable

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!

Demonstrator holding a “Unite Here” sign at a Black Lives Matter rally.

Social Justice and Intellectual Freedom Webinar Presented (Free!) by ALA Intellectual Freedom Round Table

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!

Stylized silhouettes of two people facing each other in front of library shelves.

The Future of Intellectual Freedom: IFLA, FAIFE Seek Comment, Article Proposals

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.

Banned Books Week 2020: Censorship is a Dead End, Find Your Freedom to Read logo.

#BannedBooksWeek By the Numbers: Making Virtual-First Count

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.

4chan logo.

“Defending Scoundrels”: 4 Moral Arguments for 4chan

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.