An academic librarian and scholar of historical book banning debriefs after his third trip to visit the holdings of Harvard’s Houghton Library — including rare books that once appeared on the Catholic Index of Forbidden Books.
An artwork stowed away into obscurity? Suppression and opportunities for thoughtful community conversations sidestepped? This proved to be an artwork well worth scrutinizing and exploring due to it being a paradigm example of the stifling of free speech.
Last month, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom hosted its first Intellectual Freedom Chat (#ALAIFchat) on Twitter. One hour and 280 characters just wasn’t enough to answer all questions. Here are some answers to questions we didn’t get to, as well as some thoughtful discussions we hope will continue.
Each article in the Library Bill of Rights is important, but I’m always drawn to this particular article for that phrase. “To provide information and enlightenment”. It is essential that parents and educators understand that to be fully informed, enlightened citizens in our society, our children must be exposed to a diverse array of viewpoints and ideas, not just those that fit within a certain ideology.
The common misconception that any library espouses the content of its collection and programming can lead to feelings of patron alienation. An imagining of the library as an equitable world stage can help to mitigate resulting acrimony directed at this institution.
What just happened? A look back at some of the biggest intellectual-freedom news of 2018…and a look forward to those on the horizon in 2019.
A recently published article critiquing Banned Books Week makes several points that merit consideration, and I hope that reflecting on these critiques can help librarians and intellectual freedom supporters move toward a more thoughtful approach to anti-censorship work.
On December 3rd, tumblr CEO Jeff D’Onofrio announced that the platform will “no longer allow adult content, including explicit sexual content and nudity.” Guest blogger Melaine Huyck-Aufdermaur defends her belief that this action is a digital age book burning.
It also demonstrates cowardice and intolerance. If you disagree with someone’s viewpoint, you should have the courage and respect to share and discuss the reasons behind your beliefs. And more importantly, you should have the courage and respect to listen to ideas other than your own.
Part of the reason that the novel is so well loved, I think, is because it challenged so many of us to think about difficult issues. Whether we continue to teach Mockingbird or choose to move on to another, more modern book, one important lesson from Mockingbird will live on – we will continue to read, and love, our banned books.