Archibald MacLeish portrait

An Invitation to Danger: Perspectives on Intellectual Freedom and Information War

The first task of information warfare is to recognize when you’re in one, because you might not be fighting the information war, but the information war is fighting you. This essay revisits the wartime writing of Archibald MacLeish, poet-warrior, playwright-propagandist, and Librarian of Congress from 1939 through 1944. It explores whether we’re experiencing an information war now, and how the library community can respond.

Person with a book

“Most respectful of the truth”: Exploring open-mindedness with Mark Lenker

We often think of open-mindedness as a personality trait, but Mark Lenker’s research reveals that open-mindedness is more an activity of mind than a state of mind. In a conversation following his LOEX 2020 presentation, “Open-mindedness is an achievement: Prototyping a new threshold concert for information literacy,” Lenker describes the habits – and limits – of open-mindedness, the relationship between open-mindedness and intellectual freedom, and how open-mindedness can be integrated into information literacy instruction and other areas of librarianship.

A newspaper silencing their own reporter: what about free speech?

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.

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Dispatches from the Houghton Library, Part Two: Who’s In and Who’s Out?

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?

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.