History of Intellectual Freedom and Censorship

History of Intellectual Freedom and CensorshipNOTE: This past webinar has now been archived. The recording can be viewed on youtube or below for free.

Join intellectual freedom educators and advocates Emily Knox, Joyce Latham, and Candace Morgan as they discuss the history of intellectual freedom and censorship, covering issues from the Roman Empire through today. Explore why knowledge of these topics and how they occur is critical to work as a librarian, library trustee, or library staff member.

This valuable opportunity is being sponsored by the Freedom to Read Foundation.

This archived webinar was originally presented November 10, 2016
Running time: 63 minutes


Learning Outcomes

  • Participants will recognize the role of the library board in advancing intellectual freedom. 
  • Participants will realize the need for locally developed institutional ethics and intellectual freedom statements.
  • Participants will learn what strategies and choices they have when facing a challenge.
  • Participants will learn ways they can strengthen support for IF in their communities. 

Who Should Attend

  • Librarians: public, K-12 school, academic
  • Administration: directors, systems, superintendents, principals
  • Library boards and school boards
  • Organizations concerned with the First Amendment and intellectual freedom
  • State library associations and intellectual freedom advocates


Emily Knox

Emily Knox is an assistant professor in the School of Information Sciences (the iSchool, formerly GSLIS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include information access, intellectual freedom and censorship, information ethics, information policy, and the intersection of print culture and reading practices.

Emily was awarded the Illinois Library Association Intellectual Freedom Award and was named a WISE Instructor of the Year in 2015. She is on the board of the Freedom to Read Foundation and the National Coalition Against Censorship. Emily’s book, Book Banning in 21st Century America was published by Rowman & Littlefield in January 2015. 

Joyce Latham

Joyce M. Latham, Ph.D. is an associate professor at the School of Information Studies of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Her research area is the history of intellectual freedom and its impact on contemporary practice. Before joining academia, she was a library director and technology coordinator in public libraries and public library systems.

Candace Morgan

Candace Morgan retired in 2004 after working 40 years in public, state, special and academic libraries in California, Michigan, Illinois, and Washington state. She holds an undergraduate degree in political science & sociology from the University of California at Riverside, a MLS from Columbia University and a MPA from Lewis and Clark College. She teaches intellectual freedom for the Emporia State University School of Library and Information Management. She was the editor and contributing author of the 7th and 8th editions of the Intellectual Freedom Manual. She has served as a member of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee, Committee on Professional Ethics and the PLA Intellectual Freedom Committee. She has also served as a member of the Washington and Oregon Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committees and on the Freedom to Read Foundation Board. She is a member and past president of the ACLU of Oregon and coordinates the statewide “Celebrate the Freedom to Read in Oregon.”





How to Register


Tech Requirements

You’ll need a stable internet connection and working headphones/speakers.


Office for Intellectual Freedomoif@ala.org or 312-280-4226.

Subscribe to future issues of Intellectual Freedom News, a free biweekly compilation of news delivered to your email by the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom including

  • Current book challenges in libraries and schools
  • Articles about privacy, internet filtering and censorship
  • ALA activities, conferences and institutes, products, online learning opportunities, awards and grants, international exchanges, and more
  • How to get involved and make the most of what ALA offers

You can also find the Office for Intellectual Freedom on , and online, or email the office at oif@ala.org.

Intellectual Freedom eLearning


Sponsored by the Freedom to Read Foundation

Why be a member of the Freedom to Read Foundation?

Freedom to Read Foundation members:

  • Help defend the First Amendment in the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Support librarians and teachers around the country besieged by attempts to restrict library materials and services
  • Qualify for discounts for upcoming events

Freedom to Read EducationYour Freedom to Read Foundation membership helps the foundation accomplish these objectives: 

  • Have a stronger voice in the courts, within the library community, and in the public arena - more members and more resources mean greater visibility for the freedom to read
  • Implement our strategic plan that includes an interactive website, more educational and legal initiatives, and better communication with members
  • Increase organizational capacity to ensure the continued vitality of the Freedom to Read Foundation for many years to come

Most importantly, as the Freedom to Read Foundation continues to monitor and actively participate in court cases at the state and federal levels, your membership helps ensure its ability to defend free speech. The foundation is particularly concerned about continued threats to our privacy, and of overzealous internet filters in libraries, which are too often used to create barriers to access constitutionally protected information. In a free country, access to such information should not be constrained.

As a member of the Freedom to Read Foundation, you do make a difference when the freedoms of access and expression are at risk.

Personal membership levels

$10 Student | $35 New Professional/Trial | $50 Member | $100 Sponsor | $250 Supporter (check the FTRF website for additional levels and information)