I was fascinated to wake up to the headline “Washington Post reporter who tweeted about Kobe Bryant rape allegations placed on administrative leave” recently. My first thought was “What? I must have read that wrong.” But I didn’t – The Washington Post reported itself that it had suspended political reporter Felicia Sonmez after she “sparked a furious backlash” by posting about the rape allegations from 2003 against Kobe Bryant shortly after his death in a helicopter crash.
By: guest contributor Andrew Harant, ALA Committee on Professional Ethics Chair. When public library customers ask for assistance to digitally alter official documents, the issue is not about intellectual property rights—the issue is that doing so may actually be unlawful.
Many academic institutions–and their libraries–are using learning analytics to improve their services and reach out to students who need help, but when does data collection cross the line and become surveillance?
Are admissions policies at the world’s most exclusive colleges fair? How do they even determine what “fair” is? And does this presence or absence of fairness affect our intellectual freedom?
Is it unethical to charge library fines? The current landscape in public and other libraries shows that there’s no one way to handle it, but trends are moving in favor of patrons.
People need information at all points in their lives, something librarians have a keen understanding of. But my professional role as a librarian in facilitating the intellectual freedom in situational circumstances such as domestic violence was not an immediate and obvious connection.
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.
Beginning on May 1, we’ll post a link here daily pointing to a new post on the Choose Privacy Week blog that we hope will inspire you to think about and discuss these issues and to take action to preserve individuals’ privacy rights.
There must be something in-between an institutionally-coerced pledge and a removed-from-the individual committee statement. Of course, you know this is where I also say that academic librarians have a role. Like professors, we have a professional duty to encourage the development of informed opinions.
Likewise, it says a great deal about the importance of librarians, library paraprofessionals, museum curators, archivists, educators, and anyone else involved in the protection and promotion of cultural heritage and protection of intellectual freedom. Knuth’s book demonstrates that librarians can be active participants in protecting cultural history, or they can be twisted to add legitimacy to the regime’s propaganda.