Episode 87: Protecting the Right to Read

Call Number Podcast: Protecting the Right to Read

September 11, 2023

In Episode 87, Call Number looks at how libraries and library workers are on the front lines defending intellectual freedom. First, American Libraries Associate Editor and Call Number host Diana Panuncial speaks with Peter Coyl, immediate past president of the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) and director and CEO of Sacramento (Calif.) Public Library. They … Continue reading Call Number Podcast: Protecting the Right to Read


A cartoon depiction of a librarian holding a stack of books with a group of protestors behind her.

How We Fight Back

September 1, 2023

All because she spoke at a public library board meeting last year. “I said, ‘Hate and fear have no place in Livingston Parish,’” says Jones. “It was an innocuous speech, a speech on censorship that any librarian would give.” The meeting, which occurred in July 2022, was intended to address general book content at Livingston … Continue reading How We Fight Back


Photo of ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall. Text says "From the Executive Director by Tracie D. Hall"

The Good Fight

September 1, 2023

By February 2020, a month before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, more than 5,500 criminal investigations had been opened in China against health care professionals and journalists accused of “fabricating and deliberately disseminating false and harmful information” about the novel coronavirus. Many were detained and charged with causing fear and hysteria, … Continue reading The Good Fight


Simon & Schuster Senior Vice President and Publisher Justin Chanda (left) interviews author Judy Blume at the 2023 Annual Conference and Exhibition.

2023 Annual Wrap-Up

July 19, 2023

The unprecedented rise in book ban attempts at schools and libraries across the country in recent years—particularly challenges against titles by and about the LGBTQIA+ community and people of color—was top of mind throughout the conference, imbuing a familiar topic with fresh urgency. Participants continued to explore crucial questions for libraries: What do inclusive, accessible … Continue reading 2023 Annual Wrap-Up



President Barack Obama at Washington, D.C.'s Anacostia Neighborhood Library, being interviewed by a sixth-grade student while other students look on.

Open Letter from Former President Obama Supports Librarians

July 17, 2023

“In a very real sense, you’re on the front lines—fighting every day to make the widest possible range of viewpoints, opinions, and ideas available to everyone,” he wrote. “Your dedication and professional expertise allow us to freely read and consider information and ideas, and decide for ourselves which ones we agree with.” The full text … Continue reading Open Letter from Former President Obama Supports Librarians


Becky Calzada wearing a blue blouse, glasses and holding right hand in air as she speaks into microphone

Become Challenge-Ready

June 26, 2023

By working on these two areas, libraries can better prepare for potential materials challenges at their institutions, according to panelists on “Is Your Library Challenge-Ready?” a June 26 program at the American Library Association’s 2023 Annual Conference and Exhibition in Chicago. “We can’t just hope it doesn’t happen and not be prepared for it,” said … Continue reading Become Challenge-Ready


James Patterson.

James Patterson on Libraries, Librarians, and Book Bans

June 26, 2023

Patterson’s upcoming book, The Secret Lives of Booksellers and Librarians: True Stories of the Magic of Reading (Little, Brown, 2024), shares stories from dozens of librarians and booksellers. But he attended American Library Association’s 2023 Annual Conference and Exhibition in Chicago largely in support of Amina Luqman-Dawson, whose Freewater won both the Newbery Medal and … Continue reading James Patterson on Libraries, Librarians, and Book Bans


Attorney and social media influencer Emily Amick at “Fight Book Bans: Frame the Debate, Fill the Seats, and Create Connections,” a June 25 session at the American Library Association’s 2023 Annual Conference and Exhibition in Chicago.

Methods for Mobilizing

June 25, 2023

“What Moms for Liberty isn’t doing is advocacy—it’s a takeover,” said Emily Amick, an attorney, social media influencer, and founder of political change nonprofit For Facts Sake. “I want to push you to think bigger about what we’re up against and how to fight it.” Amick was the featured speaker at “Fight Book Bans: Frame … Continue reading Methods for Mobilizing