We, as librarians and information specialists, can use our skills and our platform as a center of the community to educate our patrons about the immigrant experience and what it means for children and families to leave behind everything familiar for an unknown country.
The main premise of “Net Neutrality: An Intellectual Freedom Issue” is that intellectual freedom and the full functioning of libraries in America will be impeded by allowing internet service providers (ISPs) to throttle content in pursuit of their financial and customer service interests. I have to admit that the two ideas seemed unrelated to me. Is the premise really true? How exactly does net neutrality relate to public libraries and their provision of internet access?
While James Madison is most often remembered as the drafter of the Bill of Rights, he was also an advocate for open government and transparency. For Madison’s birthday we should pause and consider what Madison might have to say about support for libraries and the press and the state of open government today.
Question: How is the United States’ preeminent body tasked with preventing disease and poor public health to accomplish its mandate if it is barred from doing so?
Let me repeat that. Trump attempted to halt the publication of a book about him just because he didn’t like it. That, my friends, is censorship. It is a violation of the First Amendment. And it is unconstitutional.
On January 4, 2017, the FCC issued an updated Declaratory Ruling of the Restoring Internet Freedom order, finalizing the changes the FCC would like to see done to it’s former Open Internet policy. While we wait to see how internet access might change under, one hurdle to the enactment of these policies might be the U.S. Congress.
To fully understand intellectual freedom, it seems crucial to consider what kinds of barriers to these activities might exist in our local communities and broader American society. The ones I initially think of include self-imposed determinations — I can’t question that! — to outside restrictions — library users in this district can’t access this book! — but perhaps there are others.
Most librarians are aware of books that get challenged and the tools needed to protect their library against censorship, but censorship can also affect our digital content, whether it’s databases, e-books, streaming content, apps or electronic tools. Be aware of the current trend in challenges to these materials and how ALA is working with librarians and vendors to protect access to these great resources.
When discussing policy issues, I think we need to truly think about the decisions we make based on conflicting motives. An important one in school libraries is teaching responsibility versus instilling a love of reading. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about barriers to access for students in school libraries.
Intellectual freedom advocates have many reasons to be excited about the National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries that will be released at the AASL National Conference November 9-11. School librarians champion access to information and opportunities for all learners, and it’s never been clearer than in this iteration of our professional standards.