Our online column Letters of the Law explores a wide range of legal issues that arise in libraries, with the help of a pair of leading authorities: Mary Minow, a librarian who became a lawyer; and Tomas A. Lipinski, a lawyer who became a librarian. Together they have authored four books on the subject, including … Continue reading Can Our Library Change Its Meeting Room Rules?
John Mack Freeman, manager of Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Library’s Suwanee branch, opened with a clip that appeared to show former US President Barack Obama voicing support for Black Panther movie villain Erik Killmonger. (The clip was actually a BuzzFeed-produced PSA from director Jordan Peele, who imitated Obama’s speech patterns with cleverly synched video.) It … Continue reading Libraries and Invasive Technology
“On September 22, the White House issued its Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping, prohibiting federal employees, contractors, and grant recipients from discussing or considering concepts such as critical race theory and white privilege and discouraging diversity education and training. This order is based on the patently false and malicious claim that diversity … Continue reading ALA Statement on Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping
The novel was a collaboration among an all-female team, comprising artist Leila del Duca, colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick, and letterer Saida Temofonte. American Libraries spoke with Anderson about how the refugee crisis made her reimagine Wonder Woman’s origin story, what spurs her to fight censorship, and how the library has been her sanctuary. We read that Wonder … Continue reading Newsmaker: Laurie Halse Anderson
“You are really heroes and heroines on the front lines of making freedom of speech and freedom of thought a reality for everybody all over the country,” she said. Protecting free speech and thought, even if it goes against one’s personal beliefs or morality, should be a prime concern for librarians, Strossen said. The session … Continue reading Resisting Hate with Speech
Of concern to Ryan and others was the fine print: Tablet users would be charged up to five cents per minute to access most of the tablet content. This included otherwise free public-domain materials, such as books from Project Gutenberg. APBP facilitates prison book clubs, provides tuition for college classes in prison, and sends free books … Continue reading Prisoners Pay to Read
I take issue with the notion that libraries are ensuring all voices are heard when they let hate groups speak. Hate speech considered in a vacuum might look merely offensive, but when viewed in a historical context, that speech is inextricably linked with physical violence. Young men marching with torches and chanting “Jews will not … Continue reading When Speech Isn’t Free
The call represented a trend unfolding in public facilities across the country: individuals who arm themselves with video cameras, proclaim themselves First Amendment auditors, and enter police precincts, post offices, libraries, and other spaces under the auspices of the First Amendment right to free speech in order to record staff violations. The Connecticut caller was … Continue reading Free Speech—or Free-for-All?
On November 5, the American Library Association (ALA) issued a statement in response to the decision by the Citrus County (Fla.) Board of Commissioners to not allow Citrus County Library System to buy a digital subscription to the New York Times after one commissioner labeled the newspaper “fake news.” The ALA statement reads: “The core mission … Continue reading ALA Responds to Citrus County New York Times Block
“That didn’t necessarily make sense to me because most public libraries are well prepared to deal with challenges,” she says, pointing to the popularity of Banned Books Week (this year September 22–28) and the array of resources OIF provides for librarians dealing with book challenges. “When I went back and looked just at public libraries, … Continue reading Censorship Beyond Books
Build your foundation The first step is to be an excellent educator. Your lessons should foster “opportunities for learners to demonstrate personal curiosity and creation of knowledge” and “support the diverse developmental, cultural, social, and linguistic needs” represented in your community, according to the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) National School Library Standards for … Continue reading Up to the Challenge
Kristin Pekoll, Assistant Director of ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) began the session by announcing that OIF had recorded 531 affected items in 2018—which is a step beyond just challenges. These items included books films, board games, video games, magazines and much more. Sarah Ward, outreach librarian at Hunter College Libraries in New York … Continue reading Still Chilling: Censorship Beyond Banned Books