3D-printed gun

A Patron Wants to Print a Gun: Now What?

August 9, 2018

The incident and the recent efforts by the Texas-based nonprofit Defense Distributed to publish blueprints for manufacturing 3D-printed guns has libraries across the country working to establish policies to block individuals from printing the weapons. On July 31, US District Court Judge Robert Lasnik issued a temporary restraining order to block Defense Distributed from publishing … Continue reading A Patron Wants to Print a Gun: Now What?


Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Kennedy’s Retirement and Library Issues

July 16, 2018

American Libraries asked Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) and an attorney by training, to reflect on Kennedy’s rulings and impact. “Kennedy was certainly a free speech advocate,” says Caldwell-Stone. She points to United States v. American Library Assn., the 2003 case in which the court ruled … Continue reading Kennedy’s Retirement and Library Issues


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


Fake News panel

Fake News or Free Speech: Is There a Right to be Misinformed?

June 25, 2018

Long before the session was due to begin, every seat was full. Attendees were sitting on the floor and more were standing along the walls. Moderated by Director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom James LaRue, this panel featured Nicole Cooke from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Damaso Reyes from The News Literacy Project, Joyce Valenza … Continue reading Fake News or Free Speech: Is There a Right to be Misinformed?


Virginia General Assembly

Finding Advocacy Allies

May 4, 2018

In 2015, we—Virginia Beach City Public Schools Library Services Coordinator and Virginia Association of School Librarians (VAASL) Executive Board Member Kelly Miller and Virginia Library Association (VLA) Executive Director Lisa R. Varga—met at a state social function. A few months later, the Virginia General Assembly introduced legislation threatening intellectual freedom. We decided to coordinate our … Continue reading Finding Advocacy Allies


Are Libraries Neutral?

February 12, 2018

The program featured a sprawling discussion in which multiple definitions of neutrality were proposed, and various positions were argued for and against them. The rhetoric was lively and occasionally prickly on the stage, in the audience, and on social media. Are libraries neutral spaces? Have they ever been? You're not going to want to miss … Continue reading Are Libraries Neutral?



2017 Year in Review

January 2, 2018

Saving Federal Funding Thanks to extensive grassroots efforts by ALA members, in September the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an increase of $4 million in funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, all of which would go to the formula-based Grants to States program. The bill also included increased funding in FY2018 for a … Continue reading 2017 Year in Review


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


Left to right: Susan Harris, Ross Ufberg, Jamie LaRue, Inci Sariz, and Peter Blackstock

“If People Don’t Read It Here, It Doesn’t Help Much”

June 27, 2017

On Monday, June 26, the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), the Association of American Publishers, and the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative brought together for the program “Banned Abroad: Stories of International Censorship” panelists who have worked as publishers, translators, editors, and researchers to discuss their experiences with works that have been censored … Continue reading “If People Don’t Read It Here, It Doesn’t Help Much”


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