Wedding Cake

Wedding cake warning: policies & decisions must be content neutral

Many libraries have meeting rooms or public spaces that can be used for speakers and events, and this case reinforces the importance of making content neutral decisions regarding who can use these spaces and what they can use them for. Decisions that are not content (or viewpoint) neutral risk legal problems for the library. This also highlights the importance of a clearly defined meeting room and events policy, both to guide internal decision making and to allow staff to have clear and specific viewpoint neutral policy-based reasons if they choose to deny a request to use library space. 

“Stand” Radio Hour Drama Explores Political and Intellectual Freedom

“Stand” Radio Hour Drama Explores Political and Intellectual Freedom

Stand, is an original, hour-long play about political and intellectual freedom written by Matthew Ivan Bennett. It’s a story of compelled speech, thought, action, and surveillance “by the minute”–a perfect work of art for intellectual freedom proponents to engage with and explore.

free speech and protest

The Role of Libraries in Free Campus Speech

Perhaps the most important thing librarians can do is to continue to be a part of the dialogue on how we manage these issues and balance competing interests to ensure intellectual freedom and inclusion, and to be mindful of these issues in program scheduling, meeting space usage, and collection development choices.

protests

Not Your Grandmother’s Free Speech

By: guest blogger Tara Lane Bowman; Protest placards have come a long way since the days when signs beseeched readers to elect a candidate in an upcoming election. In the past, these signs and slogans were direct. The act of carrying a sign is a First Amendment right that engages any literate bystander. It would be enough to carry a message that states exactly what it is that a protester stands for or against.  However, the Women’s Marches show that modern protests require more than physical presence and traditional signs of dissent.

Never Again Movement Facebook Cover

Do Student Protesters Have First Amendment Rights?

They are saying that politics do not belong in schools; students are there to learn, not make political statements. A Houston-area school went so far as to threaten discipline for students who participated in any walkout or political protesting on campus. And it got me thinking: do these minors have a right to free speech? Are their actions protected by the First Amendment? I decided to find out.

In a black and white photograph, Virginia Prince, a white woman, poses standing. She holds her hands behind her back and turns out one foot. She is wearing a flowered dress, a string of pearls, and heels. She smiles.

On the Body: What Transgender History Can Teach us About Censorship

By: guest blogger J. M. Ellison. Intellectual freedom, at first blush, appears to be a matter of the mind. In fact, free thought and its circulation is intimately tied to bodies. We owe a debt to transgender people who have been at the front of the struggle for both intellectual freedom and bodily autonomy. The best way to repay them is to support the ongoing struggle for transgender liberation.

An unredacted copy of a letter sent anonymously to MLK Jr. by the FBI. It comes from the New York Times, but was original found in the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.

African-Americans, Surveillance & The Freedom of Information Act

One might think of the covert, sometimes illegal FBI surveillance of the Black Panthers, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and various other political dissidents as the petri dish where experiments with overreach were conducted years before they were unleashed on the general public. It is only within past decade or so that we are learning just how extensive the surveillance was through the Freedom of Information Act. It is only now that people like artist Sadie Barnette are beginning to come to terms with what it means.