On Wednesday, June 23, 2021, the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in favor of Brandi Levy and public school students’ speech rights, in the case Mahoney School Board v. Brandi Levy. In 2017, Levy, then a 14 year old high school student in Pennsylvania, tried out for her school’s varsity cheering squad. After not making the team, she vented her frustrations in a Snapchat video, where she flipped off the camera and dropped a few swearwords. The school, after seeing the video, subsequently suspended her from the junior varsity cheer squad, saying that her video and its message violated the cheerleading code of conduct. After failing to come to a resolution with the school, Levy and her parents sued, arguing that punishing her for off campus speech violated Levy’s First Amendment rights.
The ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee has just released their Intellectual Freedom Programming Toolkit. Intellectual freedom is not just for Banned Books Week, and this toolkit offers ways to provide bitesize servings of important IF concepts at any time of year. Rather than replacing existing programs with IF-centered activities, we can embed those ideas in popular programming that’s already being done.
There’s been a marked increase in challenges of children’s books that combat racism and immigrant bias. With social media and citizen journalism, there have been many instances of police brutality that have been recorded in the past couple of years. With this, challenges of children’s books addressing police brutality and racism have risen.
When it became clear that masks and online education would be a part of fall teaching this year, I know many of us in academia (and education more broadly) discussed potential challenges for accessibility when teaching with a mask. But as an academic librarian who is childless, I didn’t think about the broader potential impacts of mask wearing, or online learning, on children trying to learn early literacy skills.
What does YouTube’s COPPA Compliance mean in the broader discussion about digital privacy? What does all of this have to do with libraries? Also, find out more about the privacy resources provided by ALA.
In Common Sense Media’s reviews, conflating the the amount of “inappropriate” content and the value of the messages within the same five-star rating system does a disservice to parents, youth, and art as a whole.
Euphoria recognizes that progress and growth don’t happen in a straight line. Works of art are not simply vehicles for morals and “positive messages,” and Common Sense Media’s rating system over-simplifies the relationship between art and virtue.
When faced with challenges to freedom of expression or limitations on access to information, teens require caring support and reliable information.
Youth need a space where they feel accepted, and the library can be that space.
Maurice Sendak’s 1970 book In the Night Kitchen is a dreamy book about a naked little boy named Mickey working to keep from getting baked in a cake. But from the moment the book was published and continuing into the 21st century, Mickey’s nudity has unsettled reviewers, parents and even some librarians.