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. 

magazine covers in a magazine rack

Gender bias lesson leads to policy changes–and questions for school librarians

No policy can be written to prevent all challenges and all selection mistakes.  But we can improve how we talk to each other and how we talk about our policies. Included here are three steps school librarians can take to lay the groundwork for improved conversations between parents, teachers, and administrators.

Book Challenges and Authors Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Book Challenges and Authors Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Indeed, however difficult it might be to differentiate the men who authored these books from their words on the page, it is vital to our First Amendment rights and the promotion of intellectual freedom that we do not let that difficulty interfere with our duties as librarians. Patrons possess, and should continue to hold, the right to decide for themselves whether or not they want to read these materials.

Introducing the New Selection & Reconsideration Policy Toolkit

If you are attending the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver in February, the core team who worked on the toolkit will be having a panel discussion during the Symposium on the Future of Libraries. Join us for our one hour session, “The Front Lines of Intellectual Freedom: Protecting Your Pages with Policy.” The session will be held on Saturday, February 10, from 3-4 pm in room 404 of the Colorado Convention Center. Each attendee will receive a print copy of the toolkit.

Carpenter v. United States: A Battle for Privacy Rights

As part of a 2011 robbery investigation, law enforcement obtained location data from Timothy Carpenter without a warrant. After his subsequent arrest, Carpenter appealed the decision as a breach of his Fourth Amendment rights, and the case has been heard by the Supreme Court. As technologies like cell phones collect increasing loads of data about us, and as that data paints a more detailed picture of our everyday lives, have privacy laws become outdated?

Magazines displayed on a rack Photo Credit by CC 2.0 Ken Hawkins

Teen Vogue Challenge

This past summer, patrons around the country challenged libraries about their subscriptions to Teen Vogue. The online article that caused the controversy was published on the Teen Vogue website and was about anal sex. The article was not published in the paper copies of the magazine, but patrons called on libraries to end Teen Vogue subscriptions because of its online content. A public library director, who wishes to remain anonymous, shares how she and her library staff worked through the challenge.

Kristin Pekoll holding a True Stories of Censorship Battles in America's Libraries edited by Valerie Nye and Kathy Barco

Your Library is Unclean!: An Interview with Kristin Pekoll

Before she worked for ALA, Kristin experienced a very public and personal challenge to books when she was the young adult librarian at the West Bend Community Memorial Library. In her current position, Kristin has the opportunity to use this very difficult experience from her past to help librarians who are facing challenges today. Here is Kristin’s story.