There is a long history in the U.S. of controlling, suppressing, and censoring information about sex, even if the information is meant to educate, not arouse. The Comstock Act of 1873 made it a criminal offense to, “send ‘obscene, lewd or lascivious,’ ‘immoral,’ or ‘indecent’ publications through the mail. Attempts to restricted sex education materials, under the guise of protecting children form obscene and inappropriate materials, are continuing to happen today in the form of challenges in K-12 schools and public libraries. A recent example comes from Gillette, Wyoming where Hugh and Susan Bennett filed a complaint with the county sheriff’s office over the inclusion of five books in the local library’s collection. In this post are some ways that you and your library can support quality sex education for young people in your community.
While having a library card typically means borrowing materials free of cost, many of us were made aware young that we would have to pay a fine if we missed the due date. Many libraries across the United States have implemented a fine-free borrowing structure, which encourages more people to utilize the library’s resources.
Rhonda Evans rose from ALA Emerging Leader to Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table in just one year – and shows no signs of slowing down. She brings expertise, energy, and encouragement to her new IFRT leadership role, and invites all library workers to get involved in intellectual freedom issues. Keep reading to learn about Evans’s journey, perspectives on intellectual freedom, and priorities as IFRT Chair for 2021-22.
Discussion of the future of libraries so often focuses on subscription access and inviting study spaces or makerspaces, but the problem of digital preservation looms in the background. Who should preserve digital content? Which digital content should be preserved? By whom? What happens if this information is not preserved?
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) featured stimulus checks, extended unemployment benefits, and funds COVID-19 vaccines. It also provides $200 million in funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). In addition to supporting the IMLS, ARPA also included additional provisions for broadband assistance, such as funds to be appropriated towards schools and libraries to support remote learning.
The Build America’s Libraries Act seeks to provide more equitable access for all and calls for funding to be prioritized to “underserved and distressed communities, low-income and rural areas, and people with disabilities and vulnerable library users including children and seniors”.
On November 16th, members of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee voted and approved the document “Access to Digital Resources and Services Q&A.”
Access is part of the intellectual freedom equation. Whether access is impaired by economic inequalities, print disabilities, physical challenges, or language differences, librarians should work to dismantle barriers.
Child sex abuse is a serious problem but how do we talk to kids about it? How do we give children the tools and language to understand how to reach out if they are victims or if they know someone who is? There is no easy answer. One way that author Tony Abbot chose was the route of storytelling. Sharing stories can provide both a mirror and a window.
It’s the right of any parent to determine the best time to talk about sensitive issues with their children but we need titles that talk about bodies from as young as pre-k picture books. It is up to the parent to determine what titles are appropriate for their children and this specific title is age-appropriate in the children’s section.