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


Book Bans a Focus of State of America’s Libraries 2022 Report

April 4, 2022

The report summarizes library trends and outlines statistics and issues affecting libraries during the previous calendar year. It comes out annually during National Library Week, this year April 3–9. Book challenges Library staff in every state faced an unprecedented number of attempts to ban books. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) tracked 729 challenges to … Continue reading Book Bans a Focus of State of America’s Libraries 2022 Report


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



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

Uptick in First Amendment Audits

January 3, 2022

“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 Constitutional violations. “I know what these people do, so when I heard … Continue reading Uptick in First Amendment Audits


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


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


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


Drag queen reads a book to children (Photo: Jennifer Ricard)

A Deeper Look: Censorship beyond Books

July 8, 2021

Databases and digital resources Almost every library has at least one database subscription that offers curated content published by reputable sources. The target audience and content vary widely among databases, and because databases are digital resources, users can access the content in various settings—in the library, at school, and at home. These factors can cause … Continue reading A Deeper Look: Censorship beyond Books


Carrie C. Robinson

Separate—and Unequal

October 6, 2020

Born in Mississippi in 1906, Robinson began her career as a librarian serving Black schools in South Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana before settling in Alabama, where she initially worked for Alabama State College as an assistant professor of library education. In 1947, she helped organize a librarian section of the Alabama State Teachers Association, a … Continue reading Separate—and Unequal


Photo: Man holding a video camera in the library

Free Speech—or Free-for-All?

January 2, 2020

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?