The Statement on Intellectual Freedom from the Missouri Library Association’s Handbook was revised in December, 2011.
“The Missouri Library Association is directly concerned with the freedom of all members of a democratic society to read what they will in the course of making the social, educational, and political judgments on which that society is based. Libraries are a principal source where citizens can hope to find relevant facts concerning current and historical issues. It is appropriate that librarians, library staff and trustees should support free access to information as being of the utmost importance to the continued existence of democracy.”
The Missouri Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee saw tremendous growth in membership and interest for the 2012 year. We are excited about the number of new Missouri librarians eager to learn about and promote intellectual freedom around the state in a variety of settings. We look forward to receiving training opportunities to strengthen our ability to support librarians facing challenges and interested in promoting privacy.
During the last couple of years committee members have been busy learning about our committee’s history from experienced intellectual freedom advocates like Pam Klipsch, our ALA Councilor. We have been coming up with plans to update our webpages. We are developing a handout for new Intellectual Freedom Committee members, and trying to communicate with our membership through the ALA’s Intellectual Freedom listserv and our state association listserv.
The committee has sponsored presentations, panel discussions, and poster sessions at MLA’s annual convention. In 2010, Tom Durkin from the Missouri Attorney General’s office spoke about state Sunshine Laws and University of Missouri Journalism Professor, Charles N. Davis spoke about the changing nature of information freedom, the media and libraries. In 2011 the committee sponsored a panel discussion on challenged materials and a poster session on ALA’s Choose Privacy Week. We hope to offer some training and educational opportunities at the 2012 conference.
While stories about book banning and excessive filtering made the news, librarians around Missouri were busy supporting our freedom to read and privacy. Here are a few highlights from around the state:
Springfield-Greene County Library District—Judith F Krug Memorial Fund Winner!
The Springfield-Greene County Library District received a $1,000 grant from the Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund that provided lectures, panel discussions, and films during our district-wide Banned Books Week. Highlights included visits with author Sarah Ockler, whose book Twenty Boy Summer was removed by the Republic School Board, and live visits via Skype with best-selling author Chris Crutcher and Dr. Rodney Allen, author of Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut and a Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library board member. Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five was also removed by the Republic board. Other events included the Supposedly Scandalous Film Festival; “Book Challenges, Schools and School Libraries,” a panel discussion with school officials, board members and educators about their roles; a Banned Books Read-Out; and a panel discussion with Sarah Ockler, librarians, and civic leaders.
Fontbonne University highlighted recent Missouri challenges. Additionally, the world’s cutest thing ever can be accessed via YouTube: Sr. Jane Hassett CSJ (retired FBU president and our current archivist) reading And Tango Makes Three for the 2011 Read Out.
Missouri State University
For Banned Books Week (and beyond) this year, Duane G. Meyer Library at Missouri State University featured a 23’ long display of banned books from our collection. The display also included placards containing information about Banned Books Week as well as newspaper articles about recent challenges in the area and Banned Books Week events being held at local libraries. Newspaper articles discussing challenges unfolding in our local area were clipped and pinned into the display as they were published, creating an eclectic real-time chronicle of banning efforts in neighboring cities.
Missouri River Regional Library
“All week long, we had a BBW books display in our teen space, The Teen Zone. Midway through the week, we had an event where I gave a presentation on book banning and challenges. The teens learned about the difference between challenges and bans, statistics regarding the “who, what and why” of challenges, and learned about local challenges, specifically the controversy in Southern Missouri….”
Jefferson College Library–Hillsboro
Jefferson College has long celebrated Banned Books Week with displays, webpages, and giveaways. So, the chance to add the promotion of privacy to its calendar by celebrating Choose Privacy Week was welcomed by staff. Using resources provided by ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and culled from other privacy partners, Jefferson College celebrated the inaugural Choose Privacy Week in 2010 and 2011’s promotion by creating a Choose Privacy webpage, a prominent display on the first floor of the library, and having a giveaway of tags for USB storage devices. The tag giveaway gave us a chance to educate students about our commitment to helping to preserve their privacy and our desire to educate them about privacy issues.
Here is the 2012 Missouri Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee:
Chair: Lisa Pritchard, 2009-2012
Andrea Miller, 2012-2014
Jerry Brown, 2010-2012
Peggy Ridlen, 2010-2012
Robert Hallis, 2011-2013