Pickle reads Jacob’s New Dress at West Hollywood (Calif.) Library at an event by the national organization Drag Queen Story Hour. Photo: Jon Viscott

Fierceness—and Fierce Opposition

November 1, 2018

But while queens have proven their ability to bring the party with fantastic fashions and tales of individuality and acceptance, pockets of resistance remain. Many programs held in libraries still draw protests, as organized opposition groups insist that these storytimes aren’t appropriate for children. Lafayette (La.) Public Library (LPL) faced protests of its planned drag … Continue reading Fierceness—and Fierce Opposition


In Practice by Meredith Farkas

When Values Collide

November 1, 2018

Another core value is intellectual freedom, and we have a long and proud history of supporting it in the face of censorship. Because we attempt to represent a diversity of perspectives in our collections, displays, and programming, most libraries contain material that some patrons might find offensive. But what if a perspective repudiates the dignity … Continue reading When Values Collide




Khole Kash reads "Stella Brings the Family," at Mobile (Ala.) Public Library on September 8.Photo: WPMI

Drag Storytimes Bring Fierceness—and Fierce Opposition

September 20, 2018

But while queens have proven their ability to turn the party with fantastic fashions and tales of individuality and acceptance, pockets of resistance remain. Some programs held in libraries still draw protests, as organized opposition groups insist that these storytimes aren’t appropriate for children. Lafayette (La.) Public Library (LPL) is currently facing protests of a … Continue reading Drag Storytimes Bring Fierceness—and Fierce Opposition


Data Collection and Privacy

September 4, 2018

It’s an example of learning analytics, the use of data to understand and optimize learning and learning environments. The general concept isn’t new—the university’s announcement noted that student retention has been studied for more than 30 years—but the amount of data that is easy to generate with card swipes has exploded in recent years. And … Continue reading Data Collection and Privacy


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?