What You Can Do To Oppose Censorship
“If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.”— Noam Chomsky
“Intellectual Freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored. Intellectual freedom encompasses the freedom to hold, receive and disseminate ideas.”—Intellectual Freedom and Censorship Q & A
“Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.”—Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, “The One Un-American Act.” Nieman Reports, vol. 7, no. 1 (Jan. 1953): p. 20.
“It's just a fact: Democracy doesn't work without citizen activism and participation, starting at the community. Trickle down politics doesn't work much better than trickle down economics. It's also a fact that civilization happens because we don't leave things to other people. What's right and good doesn't come naturally. You have to stand up and fight for it—as if the cause depends on you, because it does. Allow yourself that conceit—to believe that the flame of democracy will never go out as long as there's one candle in your hand.”—Bill Moyers, This is Your Story, The Progressive Story of America. Pass It On.
- Make intellectual freedom in all of its forms a central part of your library’s mission.
- Educate others about the importance of intellectual freedom and how the changing information and technological environment is making the need for intellectual freedom in libraries even more critical.
- Advocate support for the library’s role in preserving intellectual freedom. Talk to local library and school boards, the media and elected officials at all levels of government.
- Monitor the news and your community for incidents of censorship in your area and report them to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.
- Lend your support to others who are facing censorship challenges.
- Respond to requests for support from the Office for Intellectual Freedom on controversies in your area.
- Stay up-to-date on legislation and court cases that could effect intellectual freedom in libraries.
- Network with civil liberties groups and other organizations in your area that are dedicated to intellectual freedom principles. Your support for them will mean increased support for libraries.
- Be a leader. Start a local group dedicated to ensuring that intellectual freedom in libraries is preserved.
- Get involved professionally. Join the ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Action Network or volunteer to work with intellectual freedom committees at the state and regional level. Become a member of the ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Round Table so that your voice can be heard.
In Other Words, Stay Informed and Be Counted!:
- Study the issues.
- Learn about who else cares about the First Amendment and intellectual freedom.
- Counter censorship in your community.
- Learn about Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) and open government.
- Learn about the Freedom of Information Act.
- Learn how kids can help oppose censorship.
- Celebrate your freedom to read.
- Subscribe to various news and discussion e-lists.
- Contact elected officials about issues/legislation related to intellectual freedom.
- Join or donate to the Freedom to Read Foundation.
- Join the Intellectual Freedom Round Table.
- Subscribe to the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom.
- Read other news sources.
- Find sensible and reliable information about safety and security for political activists.
Links to non-ALA sites have been provided because these sites may have information of interest. Neither the American Library Association nor the Office for Intellectual Freedom necessarily endorses the views expressed or the facts presented on these sites; and furthermore, ALA and OIF do not endorse any commercial products that may be advertised or available on these sites.