A holistic perspective on intellectual freedom

For Immediate Release
Tue, 10/18/2022


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing & Media

American Library Association



CHICAGO — Enshrined in the mission statement of ALA, intellectual freedom is one of the core values of the information professions. The importance of ensuring information access to all, and the historical, social, and legal foundations of this commitment, are powerfully explored in Emily J. M. Knox’s “Foundations of Intellectual Freedom,” published by ALA Neal-Schuman. Designed to function as both an introductory text for LIS students as well as a complementary resource for current professionals, this book provides a concise overview of principles, ongoing and current debates, and best practices. Extending beyond censorship to encompass such timely and urgent topics as hate speech and social justice, from this text readers will gain an understanding of:

  • the historical and legal roots of intellectual freedom, with an in-depth examination of John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty” and Article 19 of the U.N Declaration of Human Rights, and its central concepts and principles;
  • the intersection of intellectual freedom, freedom of expression, and social justice;
  • professional values, codes of ethics, ALA’s Library Bill of Rights, and Freedom to Read/View Statements;
  • pro- and anti- censorship arguments and their use in impeding and facilitating access to information;
  • book banning and internet filtering;
  • privacy and its relationship to information services;
  • U.S. case law and precedents;
  • the basics of U.S. copyright law, including fair use, and how it differs from international copyright law; and
  • emerging global issues and their impact on future intellectual freedom

Examination copies are available for instructors who are interested in adopting this title for course use.

Knox is an associate professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her book “Book Banning in 21st Century America” was published by Rowman and Littlefield and is the first monograph in the Beta Phi Mu Scholars Series. She is also the editor of “Trigger Warnings: History, Theory Context” and coeditor of “Foundations of Information Ethics.” Her articles have been published in Library Quarterly, Library and Information Science Research, and the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy. Dr. Knox has served on the boards of the Association for Information Science and Technology, Freedom to Read Foundation, and the National Coalition Against Censorship. She is also a member of the Mapping Information Access research team.

Many book retailers and distributors are experiencing service disruptions or delays, including Amazon. For speediest service, order direct from the ALA Store. ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library and information professionals worldwide. ALA Editions | ALA Neal-Schuman publishes resources used by library and information professionals, scholars, students, and educators to improve programs and services, build on best practices, enhance pedagogy, share research, develop leadership, and promote advocacy. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a variety of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions | ALA Neal-Schuman at editionsmarketing@ala.org.