Image of ALA President Patricia "Patty" M. Wong

Leading the Fight

June 1, 2022

Those words were not written about the current spate of book bans, although they certainly apply. They were written nearly 70 years ago, as the ravages of McCarthyism, censorship, and persecution made it necessary to codify a defense of the reading choices of individuals. The 1953 Freedom to Read Statement remains a rallying cry for … Continue reading Leading the Fight


Photo of Librarian's Library columnist Andy Gooding-Call

Standing Up for Intellectual Freedom

June 1, 2022

The Library’s Legal Answers for Meeting Rooms and Displays By Mary Minow, Tomas A. Lipinski, and Gretchen McCord Intellectual freedom in public libraries encompasses more than books. This handy guide, written by a trio of lawyer-librarians, covers these concerns in a direct, plainspoken manner. Using a Q&A format, the authors present succinct legal information for … Continue reading Standing Up for Intellectual Freedom


Lindsey Kimery

Book Battle in Tennessee

May 11, 2022

Country music star John Rich, who tweeted in January, prior to the bill’s introduction, that he’d met with Gov. Bill Lee and Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn about obscene books in school libraries, addressed the House subcommittee on K–12 education on February 23, comparing teachers, educators, and librarians to “the guy in the white van … Continue reading Book Battle in Tennessee


Patty Wong

Challenging Times

March 26, 2022

“The freedom to read and the fight against book bans is something we’re all thinking about a lot these days,” said American Library Association (ALA) President Patricia “Patty” M. Wong in her opening remarks at the March 24 Big Ideas session. She reported that book challenges had more than doubled from 2020 to 2021. But … Continue reading Challenging Times



2021 Year in Review

2021 Year in Review

January 3, 2022

Wong’s election makes ALA history At the conclusion of the 2021 Annual Conference Virtual, Patricia “Patty” M. Wong began her term as the first Asian American to serve as ALA president.   The American Rescue Plan Act and libraries When President Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 on March … Continue reading 2021 Year in Review


ALA logo

ALA, Divisions Oppose Widespread Censorship Efforts in US Schools and Libraries

November 29, 2021

Due to a dramatic uptick in book challenges and outright removal of books from libraries, ALA’s Executive Board and the Boards of Directors for all of ALA’s eight divisions have released the following joint statement regarding attempts to remove materials that focus on LGBTQIA+ issues and books by Black authors or that document the Black … Continue reading ALA, Divisions Oppose Widespread Censorship Efforts in US Schools and Libraries


A protester at the Save Niles Library rally in July. Organizers met at a local park, then marched to the library for a public hearing on proposed budget cuts.

A Conflict of Values

November 1, 2021

Incumbent trustee Becky Keane-Adams responded immediately, saying she wholeheartedly disagreed. “Books are windows,” she began. “If you open a book and you can never see yourself in it, then it’s hard to figure out who you are.” The comments of Makula—elected in April along with candidates Olivia Hanusiak and Suzanne Schoenfeldt, who like Makula identify … Continue reading A Conflict of Values


Librarian's Library by Allison Escoto

Up to the Challenge

November 1, 2021

Foundations of Intellectual Freedom By Emily J. M. Knox This text is a practical introduction to intellectual freedom in librarianship. It provides a broad overview, including historical perspectives, key US case law and precedents, a presentation of opposing viewpoints, and an examination of various professional codes of ethics, among other essential topics. The work also … Continue reading Up to the Challenge


Man in plaid shirt, back to camera, films library patron with a cellphone

Uptick in First Amendment Audits

August 26, 2021

“My heart sank,” Ryan says. She had learned about these encounters in 2020 and knew what they entailed. In First Amendment audits, individuals arm themselves with video cameras, proclaim themselves “auditors,” and enter public buildings, like police precincts and libraries, to record alleged violations. “I know what these people do, so when I heard it … Continue reading Uptick in First Amendment Audits


ALA logo

ALA Executive Board Opposes Censorship of Programs Addressing Racial Injustice, Black American History, and Diversity Education

August 18, 2021

The American Library Association is committed to upholding our core values, which include equitable access to knowledge, social justice, and intellectual freedom. As members of a profession committed to free and equitable access to information and the pursuit of truth, we stand firm in opposing any effort to suppress knowledge, to label “controversial” views, or … Continue reading ALA Executive Board Opposes Censorship of Programs Addressing Racial Injustice, Black American History, and Diversity Education


Young woman in blue shirt reads the 10th edition of ALA's Intellectual Freedom Manual

Intellectual Freedom: A Manual for Library Workers

July 8, 2021

What were some of the biggest changes in the manual—such as new laws, policy updates, privacy rules, and technology issue—since the ninth edition in 2015? MARTIN GARNAR: One of the biggest changes was the sheer number of new interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights—eight in total, with topics ranging from religion and politics to … Continue reading Intellectual Freedom: A Manual for Library Workers