Libraries, the First Amendment, and Cyberspace

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the Author
  • Reviews

The First Amendment is inextricably tied up with all kinds of library service, from providing meeting rooms for patrons, to lending materials to children, to giving patrons access to the Internet. Written by the director of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Libraries, the First Amendment, and Cyberspace examines how and in what areas the First Amendment affects library decision making and service delivery. With attention to today's electronic environment, Peck's timely and comprehensive book answers the questions librarians most often have about censorship, access, the role of the library, and their rights and responsibilities.

Library-related topics include:

  • basic First Amendment principles and their application to libraries;
  • the right to offend;
  • religious motivations and library use;
  • library confidentiality laws;
  • cyberspace and the First Amendment; and
  • children, schools, and the First Amendment.
Appendices describe ALA policies and recommendations such as "Guidelines and Considerations for Developing a Public Library Internet Use Policy," and many others.

1 Questions and Answers about the First Amendment: Sex, Lies, and Cyberspace
2 Basic First Amendment Principles and Their Application to Libraries
3 The Sexual Conundrum
4 The Right to Offend
5 Religious Motivations and Library Use
6 Just between You and Your Librarian—Library Confidentiality Laws
7 Workplace Issue: Employee Free Speech and Harassment
8 Children, Schools, and the First Amendment
9 Cyberspace—The Last Frontier
Appendix A The Library Bill of Rights and Its Interpretations
Appendix B Guidelines for the Development and Implementation of Plicies, Regulations, and Procedures Affecting Access to Library Materials, Services, and Facilities
Appendix C Guidelines and Considerations for Developing a Public Library Internet Use Policy
Appendix D Dealing with Concerns about Library Resources
Appendix E Conducting a Challenge Hearing
Appendix F Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records
Appendix G Policy Concerning Confidentiality of Personally Identifiable Information about Library Users

Robert S. Peck

Robert S. Peck is senior director for legal affairs and policy research for the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. In that capacity, his practice focuses exclusively on constitutional litigation. He is a member of the adjunct faculty at American University's law school, where he teaches legal ethics and constitutional law. A noted First Amendment lawyer, Mr. Peck is a past president of the Freedom to Read Foundation, chairs the national Lawyers for Libraries pro bono project and the legal advisory committee of the National Center for Science Education, and serves on the First Amendment Advisory Council of the Media Institute.

"Peck has done us all a great service in writing this book now during the height of the controversies over Internet access... His book offers insights into what can be done and still be within the legal constraints of the First Amendment."
—Casper Star-Tribune

"...recommended reading for all librarians and for use as a library school textbook."
—Library Journal

"But for a solid, straightforward treatment of the current issues from a legal perspective it is difficult to imagine anything better. Well-done, strongly recommended and absolutely necessary in the present litigious age."
—Journal of Academic Librarianship

"The title will be invaluable to those who work in a public or school library and are responsible for ensuring that library policies and practices adhere to federal and state laws. Highly recommended."
—Book Report

"It is recommended for library schools, university and large public libraries, as well as those concerned with free speech and censorship."
—Australian Library Journal