Illustration: David Michael Moore

Target: Librarians

June 3, 2019

“All hell broke loose when just the title of the grant [‘Minority Student Experiences with Racial Microaggressions in the Academic Library’] was discovered,” Cooke said at “Defeating Bullies and Trolls in the Library: Developing Strategies to Protect our Rights and Personhood,” a workshop held at Skokie (Ill.) Public Library on March 8. A harassment campaign … Continue reading Target: Librarians


Nicole A. Cooke at Defeating the Bullies and Trolls in the Library event at Skokie (Ill.) Public Library. Photo: Max Herman.

Defeating Bullies and Trolls

March 15, 2019

“All hell broke loose when just the title of the grant was discovered” she said. In the weeks that followed the report’s release, Cooke’s email address and phone number were disseminated by hate groups and their online followers, leading to harassing phone calls and emails. When she asked for her contact information to be removed … Continue reading Defeating Bullies and Trolls


In Practice by Meredith Farkas

When Values Collide

November 1, 2018

Another core value is intellectual freedom, and we have a long and proud history of supporting it in the face of censorship. Because we attempt to represent a diversity of perspectives in our collections, displays, and programming, most libraries contain material that some patrons might find offensive. But what if a perspective repudiates the dignity … Continue reading When Values Collide


ALA logo

ALA Council Rescinds “Meeting Rooms: An Interpretation of The Library Bill of Rights”

August 16, 2018

The motion to rescind the 2018 version was approved. Ninety of the 179 councilors were required to vote. Seventy-five percent of those voting were needed to approve the measure. A total of 146 voted on this question, representing 82% of eligible voters. The final tally: 140 voted to rescind, four voted not to rescind, and … Continue reading ALA Council Rescinds “Meeting Rooms: An Interpretation of The Library Bill of Rights”


Library Bill of Rights

OIF Responds to Library Bill of Rights Meeting Room Amendment

July 10, 2018

“Recent updates to Meeting Rooms: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights does not establish any new right to conduct hate speech in libraries. ALA does not endorse hate groups and does not seek to normalize hate speech,” said LaRue. “The interpretation reflects the current legal climate libraries face when providing the public with … Continue reading OIF Responds to Library Bill of Rights Meeting Room Amendment


Emily Knox speaks at the Midwinter President’s Program. Photo: Cognotes

Are Libraries Neutral?

June 1, 2018

The Moderator ALA President Jim Neal Are libraries neutral? Have they ever been? Should they be? Can libraries be neutral as part of societies and systems that are not neutral? Are libraries, through their processes, their practices, their collections and technologies, able to be neutral? ALA has long advocated for certain principles, detailed in the … Continue reading Are Libraries Neutral?


Hasan Minhaj at the Public Library Association Conference in Philadelphia on March 24. Photo: Laura Kinser

Newsmaker: Hasan Minhaj

June 1, 2018

You share some intensely personal experiences in Homecoming King about being the child of an immigrant. Was it hard deciding what to codify into comedy? In a comedy special you have only 70 minutes, so a lot of times you’re working with coffee and you need to boil it down to comedy espresso. I’m trying to … Continue reading Newsmaker: Hasan Minhaj



Julie Jones

Institutional Neutrality Isn’t Reality

May 1, 2018

The rally was hosted by the UW College Republicans, who invited Patriot Prayer—a right-wing group based in the Pacific Northwest—as a way to exercise free speech rights. As many open-carry advocates, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis voiced their intentions to attend the rally, fears of maintaining campus safety increased. (Just last year, a protester was shot … Continue reading Institutional Neutrality Isn’t Reality


Community-centric Advocacy

February 9, 2018

Libraries transform lives. Libraries transform communities. Librarians are passionate advocates for lifelong learning. Libraries are a smart investment. According to the research cited by the bootcamp’s leaders, humans need to hear something up to 10 times before the message really sinks in, so let’s see how many times I can pepper these messages into my … Continue reading Community-centric Advocacy


Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one. --Neil Gaiman

Ten Reasons Libraries Are Still Better Than the Internet

December 19, 2017

Sixteen years ago, American Libraries published Mark Y. Herring’s essay “Ten Reasons Why the Internet Is No Substitute for a Library” (April 2001). Technology has improved exponentially since then—social media didn’t even exist yet. But even the smartest phone’s intelligence is limited by paywalls, Twitter trolls, fake news, and other hazards of online life. Here … Continue reading Ten Reasons Libraries Are Still Better Than the Internet


50 years of the Office for Intellectual Freedom

50 Years of Intellectual Freedom

November 1, 2017

This December, OIF is celebrating 50 years of fighting for intellectual freedom: half a century of championing ­libraries, finding allies within the literary community, and aiding librarians in times of high anxiety. It’s an evolving role to be cherished and safeguarded. Lighting the flame At the 1965 Midwinter Meeting preconference in Washington, D.C., the Intellectual … Continue reading 50 Years of Intellectual Freedom