A fisheye security camera shown in front of a blurred U.S. flag

Protecting health privacy in the age of digital surveillance

With the Supreme Court apparently set to overturn Roe v. Wade, patrons may turn to libraries for help seeking information about reproductive health options in private. The ethics of our profession mandate that we do so. We can help patrons by teaching them how to protect their digital privacy on their own devices and ensuring our public computers employ the strongest, most up-to-date protections.

Activists rally for reproductive rights.

The Intersection of Roe v. Wade and Intellectual Freedom

Riley points out the laws in many states requiring people seeking abortion to get “counseling” prior to the procedure is a direct violation of the patient’s and doctor’s intellectual freedom. These laws, often referred to as “informed consent,” focus disproportionately on the negative and rare side effects of abortion while ignoring the positive effects of the procedure and the negative effects of continuing the pregnancy.

5 Ways to Exercise your Intellectual Freedom Rights, Read Banned Books for Free, Access Materials your Library Does Not Own

Five Ways To Access Books After They Are Removed From Your Library 

Amidst widespread book challenges and removal of materials in libraries across the United States, people may ask “how can I continue to exercise my freedom to read such materials?” This question may be easy to answer for us librarians, but many people may not be aware of other methods to access such materials and exercise their rights without purchasing materials themselves. Therefore, it is important to make sure your own library patrons and community are aware of these 5 opportunities to still access books if they are removed from your local library.

Free Speech: A History From Socrates to Social Media by Jacob Mchangama

Book Review | Free Speech: A History From Socrates to Social Media by Jacob Mchangama

In the book, Mchangama tries to do exactly what the title suggests, presenting a high-points, timeline history of the free speech debate from antiquity through the modern era, concentrating on that part of the world that might have been called Occidental 100 years ago, with a few brief jaunts into China or the Caliphates of the Middle East.

Multiple utility cable spools sit on a snow covered hill with forest covered hills behind them

New Infrastructure Bill Seeks to Bridge Digital Divide

In November of 2021, President Biden signed a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill into law. A significant portion of the bill is allocated for upgrading access to broadband speed internet nationwide. This unprecedented amount of funding is set to be the largest investment into telecommunications by the public in the history of the country: what does it mean and what will it do?

FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund: Helping Schools and Libraries Close the Homework Gap

FCC to Open Second Application Window for Emergency Connectivity Fund

In December 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act which distributed $7 billion to increase broadband access in the United States. $3.2 billion was apportioned to create the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Additionally, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) detailed provisions of an Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) which included over $7.1 billion to support remote learning in schools and libraries. The ECF program focuses on schools and libraries, helping fund costs of laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and other connectivity equipment. These funds are available to a wide range of libraries, including public, school, tribal, academic, research, and private libraries, in addition to library consortiums.

Two computer users, divided by a red line.

Redlining Takes Digital Form: How Can Libraries Help?

Historically, redlining refers to the practice of banks using maps to withhold loans for certain areas, usually poor communities of people of color. Now redlining takes digital form as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) get to choose where to build their networks and what types of plans are available. In today’s society, a reliable internet connection is a necessity, often required for job applications, scheduling travel, connecting with others, online education, and more recently working remotely from home. Those without an affordable high speed internet plan are at a distinct disadvantage, and communities with limited ISP options will again face obstacles for growth. Poor communities, often people of color, are being denied options for reliable internet plans when compared to white communities in the same area.