For immediate release | January 28, 2011

American Library Association President Roberta Stevens applauds reverse decision on Connecticut film screening

CHICAGO – Last week, the Enfield (Conn.) Public Library, threatened with loss of library funding from its Town Council and mayor, canceled a screening of Michael Moore’s documentary “Sicko” in the library. Following vigorous debate and strong statements of intellectual freedom principles, notably from the Connecticut Library Association, Enfield town officials will allow the film to be shown at the library after all.

Roberta Stevens, president of the American Library Association, commended town officials for reversing their action and allowing the film screening to take place. “We are delighted to learn that the Enfield Public Library will move forward with a library program intended to generate thought and discussion about the vital but controversial issue of health care in this country,” said Stevens. “We also commend the Connecticut Library Association for its passionate and articulate stance in support of intellectual freedom.

“Public libraries exist as forums for ideas. As a public institution dedicated to providing access to information across the political spectrum, the library’s role is to select materials with the entire community in mind.

“When people find materials or events they disagree with or dislike in libraries, they are free to avoid those resources, or to choose others that are more appropriate for themselves and their families. But attempts to restrict access for others threaten the core values that enable us as Americans to live in a free society. The ALA applauds the public dialogue that took place in Enfield and resulted in a positive outcome for the library and the diverse community it serves.”

The American Library Association, the oldest and largest library association in the world, is an advocate for the freedom to read and to access all forms of library materials, including video recordings. Its mission is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.