A volunteer with Books to Prisons Seattle searches the donated books to fulfill prisoner requests.

The Freedom of Reading

October 31, 2016

Books-to-prisoners programs across the country are doing their best to address this need by taking book requests from prisoners by mail, then having volunteers match those requests to books that have been donated by the public or purchased with monetary donations. Volunteers also prep books for shipment, assess and sort donations, keep track of the … Continue reading The Freedom of Reading



Karen Muller

Preserving Our Values

May 31, 2016

The Intellectual Freedom Manual is a guide to providing library service in support of First Amendment rights. For the manual’s 9th edition, the background information on its policies has been pulled into a separate volume, A History of ALA Policy on Intellectual Freedom: A Supplement to the Intellectual Freedom Manual, compiled by editor Trina Magi … Continue reading Preserving Our Values


Attendees are seated at the Perspectives on Islam event on March 9 at Darby (Mont.) Community Public Library.

Perspectives on Islam in Montana

April 15, 2016

In 2016, along with our regular programming for children, we chose the Montana Historical Society traveling history footlocker, Coming to Montana: Immigrants from Around the World, for field trips with elementary-school children from Darby Public Schools, one of our local partners. The footlocker was exhibited at the library and provided a useful starting point for … Continue reading Perspectives on Islam in Montana


Joshua Hammer, author of The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts.

Newsmaker: Joshua Hammer

March 24, 2016

When reading your book, I didn’t know whether to be scared out of my mind about the jihadists or think it’s the greatest thing that these librarians were able to get the manuscripts out of danger. JOSHUA HAMMER: I think both reactions would be appropriate. Fearing for more than 350,000 medieval manuscripts in the city, … Continue reading Newsmaker: Joshua Hammer


US President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Dartmouth President John Sloan Dickey at the Dartmouth College commencement, June 14, 1953. Courtesy of Dartmouth College Library

The Freedom to Read

March 15, 2016

Eisenhower’s words shocked many because they constituted his first public challenge to McCarthyism—an ethos enveloping the country at the time and fed by Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.), who inferred communist conspiracies everywhere in American culture, including books on the shelves of 194 information libraries that the US State Department operated in 61 foreign countries. Like-minded … Continue reading The Freedom to Read




Detail from Section 215 by Hasan Elahi. The mural incorporates pigment images of the rooftop of a National Security Agency building with Section 215 overlaid in Morse code.

MLK Library’s Tribute to Banned Books Week

September 28, 2015

Hosting a tour of the installations showcased on the first and second floors of the library, Matthew Mann, MLK library associate and curator of the exhibit, says the exhibit was organized to underscore the library’s commitment to the rights of freedom of speech and expression. Several artists focused on potential threats to personal privacy posed … Continue reading MLK Library’s Tribute to Banned Books Week


Karen Muller

Intellectual Freedom: A Core Tenet

September 11, 2014

For 75 years, since ALA Council first adopted the Library Bill of Rights in 1939, challenging censorship has been a core tenet of librarianship. The essays in the 2014 edition of Banned Books: Challenging our Freedom to Read, by Robert P. Doyle, outline how case law has extended the protection of the freedoms of speech … Continue reading Intellectual Freedom: A Core Tenet


Amazon Unlimited

July 18, 2014

The disruption continues, and it’s hard not to see the announcement of the new Kindle Unlimited Service as a significant challenge to libraries. Let’s review how things stand with libraries right now. Most public library budgets took a hit during the recession, meaning they had less money to provide new content. At the same time, … Continue reading Amazon Unlimited


militia.jpg

Extremism @ the Library

July 14, 2014

Bring up the subject of extremist literature and hate propaganda, and the first mental image most people are likely to have is of waves of protesters, livid Holocaust deniers, and the ACLU defending free speech. Curating such material takes a special brand of fortitude. Radical literature that calls for destroying the status quo and hate … Continue reading Extremism @ the Library