Office for Intellectual Freedom

Office for Intellectual Freedom

 
50 East Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 280-4226
E-mail: oif@ala.org

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Established December 1, 1967, the Office for Intellectual Freedom is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Association’s basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials.

Support

  • Our free consulting services help you prepare for censorship and implement vital intellectual freedom best practices within your library or school. We create and edit policies, strategize plans for working with communities and families, and provide workshops and programs about the First Amendment, privacy laws, internet filtering, and intellectual freedom.

Training

  • Advocacy and Intellectual Freedom Bootcamp prepares library communities to advocate for libraries as fundamental building blocks to democracy. In this joint effort of ALA's Office for Library Advocacy and OIF, the workshop covers advocacy basics such as messaging, networking, and community engagement, and intellectual freedom basics such as equal access and community support during book challenges.
  • We host webinars to educate librarians and the public about the nature and importance of intellectual freedom.

Public Awareness

  • Read Banned Books disappearing mugBanned Books Week in the fall draws attention to the harms of censorship and the benefits of unrestricted reading.
  • From May 1 - May 7, OIF coordinates with privacy advocates to highlight current privacy practices and guidelines during Choose Privacy Week.
  • Our Voices - an initiative of OIF and ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services - promotes the growth of diverse, quality content in library collections.

Publications

  • Journal of Intellectual Freedom and PrivacyWe collaborate with intellectual freedom leaders to continually provide updated resources on a broad range of intellectual freedom issues, including censorship, material challenges, collection policies, privacy, internet filtering, academic freedom and equal access to information.
  • Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy (JIFP) includes substantive essays, peer-reviewed articles, book reviews, legal briefs, and opinion pieces. The $50 annual subscription allows readers to review the latest book banning incidents, court rulings, and legal controversies.
  • This 9th edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual is more than just an invaluable compendium of guiding principles and policies; it’s also an indispensable resource for day-to-day guidance on maintaining free and equal access to information for all people, including
    • 34 ALA policy statements and documents, 17 new or updated for this edition, addressing patron behavior, internet use, copyright, exhibits and use of meeting spaces
    • At-a-glance lists summarizing key issues such as access, challenges and censorship, access by minors to controversial materials, and advocacy
    • Explanations of legal points in clear, easy-to-understand language, alongside case citations
    • Numerous checklists to help readers stay organized

Our Community

  • ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC)
    A committee of ALA’s Council responsible for safeguarding the rights of library users in accordance with the First Amendment. The IFC page includes its official charge, roster, current activities, and discussion of draft documents.
  • ALA Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE)
    A committee of ALA’s Council charged with augmenting the Code of Ethics through interpretations and guiding documents. The COPE page includes its official charge, roster with term dates, and current activities and reports.
  • Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT)
    A grassroots membership group of more than 1,000 intellectual freedom advocates. The IFRT executive board organizes programs, events, and awards. For $15 per year, all IFRT members receive free intellectual freedom eLearning.
  • Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF)
    FTRF was established in 1969 as a First Amendment legal defense organization affiliated with the American Library Association. FTRF is a separate corporation from the American Library Association, working in close liaison with the ALA.
  • State IFC Chairs
    OIF hosts a series of online “State of the States” virtual meetings for Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) chairs from ALA Chapters and AASL Affiliates. These meetings are an opportunity to promote communication and discuss state, local, and national intellectual freedom issues.

Staff

James LaRue
Director
(312) 280-4222
jlarue@ala.org

For filtering, meeting rooms and privacy support:
Deborah Caldwell-Stone
Deputy Director
(312) 280-4224
dstone@ala.org

For challenge support:
Kristin Pekoll
Assistant Director
(312) 280-4221
kpekoll@ala.org

For Banned Books Week support:
Eleanor (Ellie) Diaz
Program Officer
(312) 280-4225
ediaz@ala.org

For Freedom to Read support:
Kim Diehnelt
Acting Program Officer
(312) 280-4223
kdiehnelt@ala.org