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.
The Republican Right humiliated and punished all but its true believers, in a purge that left it less responsive to a changing world, and undercut broad support. Is the Left repeating the play?
“The right to make my own choice is fundamental to life, and intellectual freedom with the right to choose what to read is necessary to maintain what I believe is inherent to all of us,” says Salt Lake County librarian Wanda Mae Huffaker. In anticipation of National Library Week 2020 and the State of America’s Libraries report announcing the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2019, we share book challenge experiences, 2019 top challenged title predictions, and our passion for the freedom to read.
Overall, going to legislative advocacy day was a really positive experience. I think it is important for librarians to speak up about the importance of libraries and the needs of our patrons. Many of our patrons – especially in school libraries – can’t speak up for themselves about what they need. In today’s fiscal climate, I think we need to speak up to make sure we can continue to serve our patrons’ needs.
“In 2020, the census is going online. The idea is to help increase self-response, but as librarians we understand the special challenges this may create for some of our patrons.”
Half the states in the country have changed their voting laws to make it more difficult to vote, a very large number in a concentrated period.
Libraries have always been a forum for ideas, a place for people to come and speak. I think that this is where libraries can make a difference. The public not only wants a chance to hear the issues but also the opportunity to deliberate with their fellow citizens on what those issues mean.
Dwindling local school budgets, increasing technology, and conflicting values can all contribute to the elimination of public and school librarian positions. However, these positions are critical to maintain in order to preserve principles of intellectual freedom in schools and in society.
The term blacklist immediately conjures notions of silence and censorship and an expansive chronology of historical struggles toward free expression and intellectual freedom. But this is a blacklist, I’m fond of stressing, that reinforces concepts of positive community-building and challenging people to rethink how we live and see our urban environment.
Introductory post considering the role that Friends and Foundations play to support the freedom-loving access to information and enlightenment in public libraries.