New ALA Statement Affirms Net Neutrality is Essential to Intellectual Freedom

For Immediate Release
Thu, 02/22/2018


Eleanor Diaz

Program Officer

ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom


At the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting, ALA Council adopted the statement “Net Neutrality: An Intellectual Freedom Issue.” Written by the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee, the document affirms that Net Neutrality is essential to the promotion and practice of intellectual freedom and the free exercise of democracy.

The document’s origins date back to June, when ALA President Jim Neal requested a Net Neutrality position paper written from an intellectual freedom perspective. On Dec. 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal Net Neutrality; the repeal will take effect on April 23, 2018. The Intellectual Freedom Committee structured the paper to respond to arguments in the anticipated fight to preserve Net Neutrality.

“The Net Neutrality statement is timeless, reflecting the core values of ALA and its members,” said IFC Chair Helen Adams.

The document makes clear connections between Net Neutrality and libraries, democracy, intellectual freedom, and equitable access. It also recognizes the work of the ALA Washington Office and other ALA advocacy efforts to defend Net Neutrality.

“There are many forms of censorship. Tilting the playing field toward a few players is one of them,” said Office for Intellectual Freedom Director James LaRue.

The statement is endorsed by the Committee on Legislation, Intellectual Freedom Round Table, Committee on Professional Ethics, the American Association of School Librarians, Library Information Technology Association and IFC Privacy Subcommittee.