Among the many challenges of 2020, there is another challenge we’ve faced down in the past and will continue to face in the future: book challenges. Censorship doesn’t take a sick day – and book ban and challenge statistics reported by the Office of Intellectual Freedom prove it. But for the first time, our annual commemoration of the fight against book censorship and other content challenges went virtual-first. Inspired by the Harper’s Index, this post measures Banned Books Week 2020 by the numbers – and shows how intellectual freedom advocates made virtual-first count.
Surveillance. Censorship. Disinformation. Distrust. The information war marches on. This post offers specific suggestions for safeguarding one’s own mind in the “fog and friction” of information warfare, including privacy, “ladder reading,” open-mindedness, asking critical questions, and taking a “trust pause.”
The first task of information warfare is to recognize when you’re in one, because you might not be fighting the information war, but the information war is fighting you. This essay revisits the wartime writing of Archibald MacLeish, poet-warrior, playwright-propagandist, and Librarian of Congress from 1939 through 1944. It explores whether we’re experiencing an information war now, and how the library community can respond.