Each year the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) distributes grants to support activities that raise awareness of intellectual freedom and censorship issues during the annual Banned Books Week celebration. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” Banned Books Week runs from Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2021 and the grants of $1,000 or $2,500 are offered through the Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund. Visit the Freedom to Read Foundation online to apply and learn more about past recipients and their projects. Deadline: June 4, 2021.
In our polarized environment, the censorship and outright banning of children’s books which some deem to be controversial or objectionable remains a major concern for libraries. Intellectual freedom champion Pat R. Scales returns to the fray with “Books under Fire: A Hit List of Banned and Challenged Children’s Books, Second Edition,” published by ALA Editions in cooperation with ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF). In this matchless guide, updated to focus on titles published since 2015 which have been the target of challenges, school and public librarians, LIS students, and classroom educators will get the assistance and support they need to defend challenged books with an informed response while ensuring access to young book lovers.
The Intellectual Freedom Round Table is pleased to announce that the Missouri Library Association (MLA) is the 2021 recipient of the Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award for their quick response to HB 2044, known as the “Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act.” Their work on this issue demonstrates the significant effort that is required to defend intellectual freedom and to keep our communities informed about how library materials are selected.
The American Library Association (ALA) and the Banned Books Week Coalition are excited to announce that banned author Jason Reynolds has been named the inaugural Honorary Chair for Banned Books Week 2021. The New York Times bestselling author will headline the annual celebration of the right to read, which takes place September 26 – October 2, 2021.
“George” Tops Most Challenged List for Third Year in a Row: “Stamped” Takes No. 2 Spot” in School Library Journal. “Caldwell-Stone says these challenges to “classics” are a reflection of the critical evaluation of books and curricula that is happening in schools. The OIF does not support removing any books from library shelves. “It’s firmly our position that books ought not be censored in any way, but rather that the opportunity to discover and read diverse authors should be expanded in schools, so that you can illuminate and interrogate the older texts by reading the newer texts that reflect other viewpoints, diversity of points, that reflect the views and ideas of BIPOC authors in particular,” she said.”
“Martin Garnar Receives IFRT Immroth Memorial Award” — Martin Garnar, Director of Amherst College Library, is an active leader of the ALA intellectual freedom community, having served the profession in every capacity imaginable. Throughout his career, Martin has served as a trustee and president of the Freedom to Read Foundation, chair of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee, chair of the ALA Committee on Professional Ethics, chair of the IFC Privacy Subcommittee, trustee of the Leroy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund, editor of the 10th edition and co-editor of the 9th edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual, and councilor of IFRT.
Read an interview with President of the Freedom to Read Foundation, Barbara Stripling, that examines the organization, it’s Midwinter Report to ALA Council and upcoming priorities.
“When I was a baby librarian, I thought that I was ready for challenges, and I wasn’t,” he said. “But I got ready, and that experience has proved invaluable in dealing with this whole situation, and I’m so grateful to the work of my former colleagues—current colleagues? I’m still a librarian at heart—who are putting the needs of their patrons first.” Kyle Lukoff in “LGBTQ+ Book Challenges Continue As Texas Parents Object to “Call Me Max” in School Library Journal.
“It is also incumbent upon us as library and information workers to combat cultural bias and bigotry by promoting diversity in our collections, programming, policies, and hiring practices, ensuring that our diverse communities see themselves represented on our library shelves, in our offerings, and among our ranks.
The Executive Board calls on ALA members, library institutions, and library users to join them in publicly condemning anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander racism.” ALA Executive Board Supports APALA in Recognizing and Condemning Ongoing anti-Asian Hate Crimes
“How libraries approach the Dr. Seuss books is going to differ,” said OIF Director Deborah Caldwell-Stone, “based on individual guidelines for collection curation and community demand for certain books.” The Dr. Seuss Controversy: What Educators Need to Know (Education Week)