With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, many states have enacted laws that not only restrict a person’s access to abortion services, but also criminalizes helping a person seek an abortion. Now library workers in states with these types of restrictive abortion laws are wondering if providing information about abortion is also restricted under these laws. In July 2022, staff at the Metropolitan Library System (MLS) in Oklahoma were told not to help patrons access information about abortion, the message to staff going so far as the warn them to not even use the word abortion when speaking to patrons. In states with restrictive abortion laws, librarians may have to decided what statues are more important for them to adhere to, state law or the First Amendment.
Librarians and library organizations should be aware of ongoing efforts to lessen governmental qualified immunity (a frequent point of discussion after high-profile police brutality cases or accidents attributable to public employee negligence). Librarians and library organizations should be willing to discuss all of this, says Giudicessi, because “people who are at the extremes of an issue often see imposing liability as a tactic.”
Wentzville, MO received multiple book challenges in Fall 2021. These books, including The Bluest Eye, were removed by the School Board. By February 2022, students filed a class action lawsuit in federal court against their school for violating their civil rights through book banning. That very same day, the School Board voted 7-0 to return one of the books to the shelves and the challenger withdrew at least two of their other challenges.
4chan, the image board the Internet loves to hate, is an undeniable cultural force. From Anonymous to doxxing, memespeak to hate speech, lolcats to troll brigades, could 4chan be so bad it’s good? This essay makes four moral arguments in favor of 4chan and its role in the social web: moral outsourcing, anonymity, freedom of expression, and epistemic agency.
“Cancel culture” is becoming synonymous with fragility. Pundits increasingly resent when racial, cultural and sexual norms are enforced in public. They bemoan cancel culture as a form of censorship, despite the fact that no one has actually been “cancelled.” They grieve the loss of free speech when they’re merely being taught a lesson: there is currency in our words and the price paid is accountability.
Untold numbers of Americans likely had their personal communications snagged in yet another FISA surveillance dragnet. So, where is the media coverage to inform corrective action and public oversight?
…if bad actors or provocateurs can turn a peaceful protest into a violent altercation, and fix the blame on protest organizers, free speech now faces an impossible burden.
In his dissent, Oliver Wendell Holmes argued that the 1st Amendment protects the right to critique the government, and that right should only be curtailed when there is a “present danger of immediate evil.”
I’d like to offer an approach I’ll call the continuum of safety, offered from the perspective of the patron, the person who uses the library but is not a member of the staff. My goal is to establish a framework for the supervision of public space, in keeping with the values of the profession.
Celebrating the remarkable, revolutionary role that Susan B. Anthony played not just in helping gain suffrage for women but in advocating for intellectual freedom.