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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
The General Index is a powerful tool that opens up the scholarly record to analysis and criticism. To find and address inequity in the scholarly record, we should empower students to feel comfortable using data – to make the most of tools like the General Index, and to collect data that fills in the gaps.
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?
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.
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.