“Beyond merely avoiding the exclusion of materials representing unorthodox or unpopular ideas, libraries should proactively seek to include an abundance of resources and programming representing the greatest possible diversity of genres, ideas, and expressions. A full commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion requires that library collections and programming reflect the broad range of viewpoints and cultures that exist in our world.”
BISAC headings have made their way into public and school libraries as well. A 2013 Knowledge Quest issue on the “Dewey Debate” provides a good intro to the “Dewey or don’t we” debate in school libraries, and many public libraries have made news for their move toward the “bookstore model,” what is often called a more patron-friendly approach than the Dewey Decimal System.
Although Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the regulation rescinded, a recent proposal and pilot program by New York to severely limit prisoners’ access to reading material raises serious question about prisoners’ right to read.
Do you like having equitable and open access to whatever you want to view online? Call your congressperson. Email. Write. Send a smoke signal. Let them know you support the free exchange of ideas and information. Let them know that you support intellectual freedom. Let them know that you support net neutrality.
Intellectual freedom provides our world with innovation: new technology, cures to diseases, new ways of providing food to starving communities. Intellectual freedom enriches culture. Answering the question, “why is intellectual freedom important” is something I am continuing to explore and think about.
Sometimes the inclusion of specific titles in those displays or the themes of the displays themselves can become points of controversy in our libraries.
ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom released its list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2016, and as usual, the majority of books are for children and teens.
Article 19 of the [Universal Declaration of Human Rights] states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Librarians Sarah Houghton and Andy Woodworth recently launched an independent special project, Operation 451, which directly addresses several of the core principles of librarianship.