Many libraries have meeting rooms or public spaces that can be used for speakers and events, and this case reinforces the importance of making content neutral decisions regarding who can use these spaces and what they can use them for. Decisions that are not content (or viewpoint) neutral risk legal problems for the library. This also highlights the importance of a clearly defined meeting room and events policy, both to guide internal decision making and to allow staff to have clear and specific viewpoint neutral policy-based reasons if they choose to deny a request to use library space.
Recently in The American Conservative, long-time conservative writer and pundit Rod Dreher wrote about ‘Queering the Public Library.’ Dreher, a resident of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, complained about the materials and programming offered by the Free Library of Philadelphia. At issue were those books and programs related to library’s Pride Month Celebration, including ‘information on bullying, safety, and coming out,’ ‘biographies of important LGBTQIA+ figures in the community,’ and two programs: a singer/songwriter celebrating diversity and a drag show.
Discussions of Islam are essential to many subjects; history, literature, art, political science, geography, and science would all be immensely hurt by eliding Islam. Teaching calligraphy without talking about Islam would be like teaching art history without talking about Catholicism. Teachers and scholars need to be able to teach reality, not have to bend curriculum to societal fears. Students and children need to know what is real, not what some wish was real.
The IFC/FTRF Issues Briefing at the 2010 ALA Annual Conference features two speakers who will spotlight cutting edge intellectual freedom issues that are raising questions and concerns for libraries today. […]