“The right to make my own choice is fundamental to life, and intellectual freedom with the right to choose what to read is necessary to maintain what I believe is inherent to all of us,” says Salt Lake County librarian Wanda Mae Huffaker. In anticipation of National Library Week 2020 and the State of America’s Libraries report announcing the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2019, we share book challenge experiences, 2019 top challenged title predictions, and our passion for the freedom to read.
These characters were real and flawed. They grappled with moral issues. And yet, they fought hard for justice and saved the day. Their victories showed readers that they, too, could be a hero, standing up to evil and protecting the innocent, and that they didn’t have to be perfect to do so.
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.
Are admissions policies at the world’s most exclusive colleges fair? How do they even determine what “fair” is? And does this presence or absence of fairness affect our intellectual freedom?
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 School Library Journal hosted its annual Day of Dialogue on Wednesday, May 30, 2018, at NYU’s Kimmel Center. The event attracted hundreds of librarians and book enthusiasts from across the country.
Perhaps the most important thing librarians can do is to continue to be a part of the dialogue on how we manage these issues and balance competing interests to ensure intellectual freedom and inclusion, and to be mindful of these issues in program scheduling, meeting space usage, and collection development choices.
Far more than just “keepers of the printed book” (our original job description), we are now, perhaps more than ever, guardians of our teens’ emotional as well as intellectual needs. A large part of our job responsibility is to provide a safe space, a blanket of warmth and comfort, a plethora of intellectual and emotional resources to the young adults we serve.
Colleges increasingly withdraw invitations to controversial speakers, raising questions of free speech, public safety and the role of education.
Diversity is definitely something that should be put into the public eye for awareness, but equally important is that teens and readers of young adult literature know the abundance of books there are with diverse themes and characters. Well-written books about diversity are out there, waiting to be devoured, but where does one begin to find books that fit this category?