Talking about Milo: 3 Perspectives from IF Community

General Interest, Intellectual Freedom Issues

Milo Yiannopoulos’ name has been splayed across all corners of the internet, not only for his controversial statements, but also for his recent fallout with followers. His actions have stirred conversations in the library community, surrounding free speech, student rights and collection development.

Three intellectual freedom fighters — our OIF director, a reference librarian and a library director — offer their perspectives on “the Milo situation.”

What’s your opinion?

Troll Comes Home to Roost” by James LaRue

Milo doll

To my mind, Yiannopoulos’ talk was small-minded and poisonous. But it wasn’t fatal. Civilization, and even common courtesy, endures. Yiannopoulos had, and still has, the right to say whatever he wishes. But he’ll have to live with the consequences when the audience he courted just doesn’t find him funny anymore.

Milo Makes News Again” by Pat Peters

Hate graphicWhen a speaker calls transgender people “mentally ill” or equates feminism with cancer, it’s hard to make the case that there is content of value that would help new adults develop their own opinions and stances on life issues. Hearing the extremes may let us more easily find the reasonable center that we can most identify with. But, of course, when speeches like this are followed by an increase in hateful acts and hate crimes … there is a clear path from this kind of speech to the actions of those who listened.

Access and Truth: Should Librarians Provide Context?” by Melissa Chiavaroli

Dangerous But Ethical? Meme of Milo bookIn this moment we have the opportunity to let it be known that we will stand for access and truth. That we are worthy of our patrons’ trust — that we will not just feed them content but will give them context as well. We are often asked why we have libraries in the age of Google. We just have been given the perfect opportunity to prove our worth. Will we open the discussion and grab it?


Feature photo credit: Kmeron for LeWeb13 Conference at Central Hall Westminster, London

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