ALA policies and statements are critical in the defense against threats to intellectual freedom. For this reason, it is crucial to understand not only the contemporary and practical resources provided by the ALA but also the historical and theoretical contexts informing current policies. The tenth edition of A History of ALA Policy on Intellectual Freedom provides an important history of ALA policy related to intellectual freedom.
“The Culture War Has Come for Higher Ed,” proclaimed a recent headline in The Chronicle of Higher Education, summarizing ongoing attacks on intellectual freedom and the closely related concept of academic freedom. Although the same risks apply to academic libraries and librarians, they are often excluded from this discussion about freedoms required for teaching and research. Recognizing that academic librarians have academic freedom is only the first step, albeit an important one.
As many prisons forgo physical materials altogether and embrace e-reader and tablet programs, it is unclear what effect these changes will have on an incarcerated person’s right to read. Can you ban an e-book? What does censorship look like in digital form?