Beyond banned books
For Immediate Release
American Library Association
CHICAGO — Equitable access to information for all, including underserved populations, is a core value of librarianship. The growing awareness of where this inequality persists has led many professionals to take steps to advance social justice within their institutions, from creating book displays about the Black Lives Matter movement or LGBT History Month to hosting programs by potentially controversial speakers. But while libraries are often well-versed in protecting the right to read books, many lack policies and experience in addressing censorship of resources and services. “Beyond Banned Books: Defending Intellectual Freedom throughout Your Library,” published by ALA Editions, uses specific case studies to offer practical guidance on safeguarding intellectual freedom related to library displays, programming, and other librarian-created content. Written by Kristin Pekoll, Assistant Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), this resource:
- spotlights case studies drawn from public libraries, schools, universities, and government agencies dealing with library displays, artwork, programs, bookmarks and reading lists, social media, and databases;
- summarizes possible complaints and controversies related to each area;
- draws connections between the intellectual freedom principles involved and associated legal issues, with relevant court opinions when possible;
- shares questions to consider when strengthening a library’s defenses against censorship;
- discusses the importance of reporting challenges to OIF, and the professional and institutional support that OIF can provide when challenges arise; and
- includes key ALA policies on intellectual freedom as appendices.
Prior to ALA, for twelve years Pekoll was the youth librarian at the West Bend Community Memorial Library in Wisconsin. Her primary focus is supporting librarians who are dealing with censorship issues, and she also works to raise awareness of the value of intellectual freedom within the library profession and among the public.
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