Libraries, Access, and Intellectual Freedom

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Intellectual freedom is one of the guarantees of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution...

...Thanks to their role as guardians of information, librarians are tasked with ensuring the benefits of intellectual freedom. The very differences in library patrons who come from varying backgrounds and with diverse tastes presents the dilemma: What one person considers enlightening and informative, another may consider immoral and offensive. Librarians are often caught in the middle.

How well librarians respond to censorship challenges will depend in large part on the planning and policy making that has gone on beforehand. Clear, precise library policies are the best approach to balancing conflicting interests.

Libraries, Access, and Intellectual Freedom is a comprehensive guide to the key intellectual freedom "hot buttons" and the legal issues involved. This unique book offers a practical approach to developing, promoting, and implementing intellectual freedom policies that work.

The success of intellectual freedom policies often hinges on how well librarians combine local community dynamics with national perspectives and legal and political realities. Librarian and intellectual freedom activist Barbara M. Jones explains the major intellectual freedom issues, including access to computer networks, requests from government agencies for circulation records, and the effects of federal, state, and local laws on policy making. She describes how to develop intellectual freedom policies that incorporate legal decisions and are clear and acceptable to users.

When used in conjunction with the Intellectual Freedom Manual, Fifth Edition, Libraries, Access, and Intellectual Freedom provides the necessary tools to promote and protect intellectual freedom in the library.

Barbara M. Jones

Barbara M. Jones chose intellectual freedom as her primary professional interest early in her career. Since the 1980s she has served in such varied roles as chair of ALA's Intellectual Freedom Round Table, two terms as a member of the Intellectual Freedom Committee, and a member of the state intellectual freedom committees in Iowa and Minnesota. She was the first chair of the recently created ACRL Intellectual Freedom Committee. Ms. Jones has spoken to library, general academic, legislative, and community groups about the First Amendment in libraries of all types. Her writing on intellectual freedom culminated in her Ph.D. in United States history from the University of Minnesota in 1995, with a focus on legal history. Ms. Jones received her Masters in Library Service, with high honors, from Columbia University in 1978. Since that time she has worked in academic and research libraries in a variety of capacities, including head of reference, head of cataloging, and director. She is currently coordinator of the special collections division, and rare book and special collections librarian, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her current project focuses on the expansion and description of the Baskette Freedom of Expression Collection at UIUC.

"...a concise, practical manual covering areas of vital importance to librarians in a clear and readable style."
—Library Journal

"...the best work of its kind... Jones...has brought, between the covers of one book, remarkable amount of information that librarians should know."
—Journal of Academic Librarianship

"Highly recommended for any library or librarian who deals with intellectual freedom issues."
—Public Libraries