The right of incarcerated people to read and the fight to allow them to do so were explored in “Minds Unlocked: Supporting Intellectual Freedom Behind Bars,” at the 2019 ALA Annual in Washington, DC. Librarians, whether they work with incarcerated people or not, are key to helping defend the right to intellectual freedom, and this presentation provided important information on the context of censorship policies and the subjective realities of what incarcerated people are and are not allowed to read.
Dave Connis’ new YA novel is a book about banned books, but it’s also much more than that. It’s about the power of narrative told through the personal story of the exceptional Clara Evans; literature-lover and library evangelist. Despite the YA category, she’s a main character that readers of any age can identify with.
Select state governments think consumers can’t discern the difference between chorizo and soyrizo. As a result, vegetarian food companies are under fire for their use of a meat-based lexicon. These legal restrictions are unreasonably burdensome for said companies, and not just to their word-choice, but to their bottom-line as well.
Banned Books Week is September 22-28, 2019. Get ready to help your students celebrate their intellectual freedom rights by creating various activities to learn more about censoring books, silencing history, restricting education, and more.
Over the last several years, the state of academic freedom around the world has ushered renewed scrutiny. Yet how often do we consider how remarkable it is to engage in dialogue and debate about the key concept that protects the very space that allows us to do so?
A recent push by the FBI for US universities to monitor Chinese students is alarming – but this siren rings with a different tonality depending on your listening equipment. To Senator Mark Warner, it’s about national security. But to me, it sounds a whole lot like government-sanctioned censorship.
While library materials and events related to LGBTQ+ issues have unfortunately seen plenty of challenges, and drag queen story times have proven particularly controversial, I find this particular instance especially troubling. Libraries are for everyone which, it should go without saying, includes LGBTQ+ people who, as Snyder points out, pay their taxes too. They deserve materials and programming that are relevant to them, just as much as the rest of us.
The boundary between aesthetics and prurience has ebbed and flowed throughout history. And today’s anti-obscenity legal landscape is evidence of this undying wave cresting in our modern day. But perhaps if we break historical barriers, and view this as a relationship without walls, calmer waters surely lie ahead.
Very much to the chagrin of advocates for intellectual freedom and champions against censorship everywhere, the book was pulled and made unavailable to any readers in that particular system. There’s really no two ways to argue what transpired: Information had been stifled and barriers erected to prevent it from reaching the public.
While artwork can be painted over, history can’t be dismantled for the sake of convenience. Erasure is endemic when it comes to censorship. Intellectual freedom is under siege when the option of destroying artwork is proposed. And there’s nothing more ahistorical and devoid of thought than a sterile freshly-painted white wall.