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


From left: Marguerite Avery, April Hathcock, and Jamie LaRue (speaking) at the American Library Association’s 2017 Annual Conference and Exhibition in Chicago on June 24, 2017. Photo: Rebecca Lomax/American Libraries

Intellectual Freedom and Open Access: Working Toward a Common Goal?

June 25, 2017

Marguerite Avery, senior acquisitions editor at Trinity University Press in San Antonio, Texas, spoke from a publisher’s point of view. Avery eagerly joined this conversation because, “framing intellectual freedom and open access is seldom discussed over intellectual property and open access,” she explains. Avery defines intellectual freedom as “being able to seek and receive all … Continue reading Intellectual Freedom and Open Access: Working Toward a Common Goal?


Desirée Fairooz in a 2013 screenshot from a video for Arlington (Va.) Public Library's Columbia Pike branch.

Former Librarian Faces Jail Time for Laugh at Sessions’s Confirmation

May 9, 2017

The reason for her arrest: laughing during the Jan. 10 Senate confirmation hearing of now Attorney General Jeff Sessions. She was found guilty on May 3 of charges of disorderly and disruptive conduct, and obstructing and impeding passage on US Capitol grounds. “I was listening when Sen. (Richard) Shelby [R-Ala.] made the comment that he … Continue reading Former Librarian Faces Jail Time for Laugh at Sessions’s Confirmation


Jelani Cobb speaks at the ACLU of Illinois luncheon, March 17, 2017.

Old Snake, New Skin

March 20, 2017

So when the ACLU of Illinois held its annual luncheon at the Hilton Chicago on March 17, FTRF and other staffers from the American Library Association (ALA) headquarters joined some 2,000 other like-minded individuals for its program on “Fighting for a More Perfect Union.” Although the topics addressed did not touch on libraries per se, … Continue reading Old Snake, New Skin


Champions of Children's Privacy

Champions of Children’s Privacy

May 2, 2016

But in one sense, it’s already happening. In December 2015, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a nonprofit digital technology rights group, filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against Google for Education, alleging that the company is surreptitiously collecting data about students as they use their school-owned Chromebooks and education apps—data that they’re using … Continue reading Champions of Children’s Privacy




Molly Hart, student engagement coordinator, with student Brandon Vear at Columbia College’s Banned Books Week Read-Out.

Columbia College Banned Books Week Read-Out

October 2, 2015

During events on September 29 and 30 and October 1, students, library staff, and other participants took turns reading aloud from banned books, including James Joyce’s Ulysses, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, and Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.  A library cart stacked with books was wrapped in yellow tape bearing the … Continue reading Columbia College Banned Books Week Read-Out


Books challenged or banned in 2015

Banned Books Week Roundup 2015

September 29, 2015

Kristin Pekoll, assistant director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, says that librarians and teachers often feel frustrated by these efforts to restrict the scope of reading. “More and more, they are reaching out to our office for support because they’re feeling silenced by their administrations,” she says. “While the fear of … Continue reading Banned Books Week Roundup 2015



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Navigating the News

December 10, 2013

To help high school students differentiate between fact and fiction in today’s increasingly chaotic news—in which opinion-based cable news programs, blogs, and social media sites have proliferated—the American Library Association (ALA), in partnership with local library branches and a nonprofit media literacy organization, created News Know-How, a program that helps young adults become better, more … Continue reading Navigating the News