Intellectual Freedom Stories from a Shifting Landscape

This title will be available Spring 2020. You may place an order and the item will be shipped when it becomes available.

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Price: 
$49.99
ALA Member 
$52.20
Item Number: 
978-0-8389-4726-5
Published: 
2020
Publisher: 
ALA Editions
Pages: 
176
Width: 
6"
Height: 
9"
Format: 
Softcover
AP Categories: 
A, C, I
  • Description
  • About the Authors

Intellectual freedom is a complex concept that democracies and free societies around the world define in different ways but always strive to uphold. And ALA has long recognized the crucial role that libraries play in protecting this right. But what does it mean in practice? How do library workers handle the ethical conundrums that often accompany the commitment to defending it? Rather than merely laying out abstract policies and best practices, this important new collection gathers real-world stories of intellectual freedom in action to illuminate the difficulties, triumphs, and occasional setbacks of advocating for free and equal access to information for all people in a shifting landscape. Offering insight to LIS students and current practitioners on how we can advance the profession of librarianship while fighting censorship and other challenges, these personal narratives explore such formidable situations as

  • presenting drag queen story times in rural America;
  • a Black Lives Matter “die-in” at the undergraduate library of the University of Wisconsin-Madison;
  • combating censorship at a prison library;
  • hosting a moderated talk about threats to modern democracy that included a neo-Nazi spokesman;
  • a provocative exhibition that triggered intimidating phone calls, emails, and a threat to burn down an art library;  
  • calls to eliminate non-Indigenous children’s literature from the collection of a tribal college library; and
  • preserving patrons’ right to privacy in the face of an FBI subpoena.

These stories provide a rich platform for debate and introspection by sharing real-world examples that library staff, administrators, board members, and students can consider and discuss.  

Examination copies are available for instructors who are interested in adopting this title for course use.

Valerie Nye

Valerie Nye is the Library Director at the Santa Fe Community College. She previously worked as a library director at the Institute of American Indian Arts and as a library consultant at the New Mexico State Library, where she started researching and training others on intellectual freedom and banned books. She has coedited a book with Kathy Barco, True Stories of Censorship Battles in America’s Libraries, and a literary research guide with R. Neil Scott, Postmarked Milledgeville: A Guide to Flannery O'Connor's Correspondence in Libraries and Archives. She currently serves on the board of Amigos Library Services and holds an MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF)

ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) is charged with implementing the intellectual freedom policies of the American Library Association through educating librarians and the public about the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Association's basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials. In order to meet its educational goals, the Office undertakes information, support, and coordination activities.

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