If there was any instance this year in which you asked yourself, “Is this censorship?” then you should report it to the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom by New Years Eve. If it made your library spidey senses tingle, it is probably worth a report. Read on for more information on what censorship looked like in 2020.
The ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom (“OIF”) encourages everyone to report any and all instances of censorship and challenges to materials (including databases), programs, speakers, filtering and author visits. No matter is too insignificant. If we let instances of censorship slide by or decide to just take certain books off the shelf to avoid conflict or save time, we undermine the First Amendment and our own profession.
Last month, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom hosted its first Intellectual Freedom Chat (#ALAIFchat) on Twitter. One hour and 280 characters just wasn’t enough to answer all questions. Here are some answers to questions we didn’t get to, as well as some thoughtful discussions we hope will continue.
Reporting challenges to ALA helps us provide better information and support to librarians and teachers facing similar challenges. OIF uses the reports for statistical purposes, allowing us to analyze trends, share data on censorship issues, and educate the public about what books are under threat and why. Please send us any info on challenges in your state or region from 2016.