New textbook elucidates the basic concepts of information law

For Immediate Release
Wed, 09/13/2023


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing & Media

American Library Association


CHICAGO — Serving as both an accessible introduction for LIS students and a go-to reference for current practitioners, “Foundations of Information Law,” published by ALA Neal-Schuman, is designed to empower readers to understand, rather than be intimidated by, the law. Authors Paul T. Jaeger, Jonathan Lazar, Ursula Gorham, and Natalie Greene Taylor draw upon their unique backgrounds in both law and librarianship to offer an incisive examination of the numerous ways in which law about information directly impacts the roles of information professionals and information institutions. Melding essential context, salient examples of best practices, and stimulating discussions to illuminate numerous key legal and social issues, this primer:

  • discusses information law as part of a continuum of interrelated issues rather than an assortment of discrete topics;
  • examines information law in the context of different types of libraries;
  • delves into the manifold legal issues raised when interacting with patrons and communities, from intellectual freedom topics like censorship and public activities in the library to the legal issues surrounding materials and information access;
  • sheds light on operational and management legal issues, including library security, interacting with law enforcement, advocacy, lobbying, funding, human resources, and liability;
  • promotes literacy of the law, its structures, and its terminology as a professional skill;
  • gives readers the tools to find and understand different sources of legal authority and demonstrates how to interpret them when they conflict; and
  • explores information law as a national and cross-national issue.

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

Jaeger,PhD, MLS, JD, MEd, is a professor at the College of Information Studies and codirector of the Museum Scholarship and Material Culture program at the University of Maryland. He is the author of about 200 journal articles and book chapters, as well as twenty books. He is coeditor of Library Quarterly. In 2014 he received the Library Journal/ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award. A 2019 study published in Public Library Quarterly named him one of the two most influential scholars of public library research in the past thirty-five years (it was a tie).

Lazar, PhD, LLM, is a professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. Dr. Lazar has authored or edited 16 books and has published over 150 refereed articles in journals, conference proceedings, edited books, and magazines. He has also been granted two US patents for his work on accessible web-based security features for blind users. Dr. Lazar frequently serves as an adviser to government agencies and regularly provides testimony at federal and state levels, and multiple US federal regulations cite his research publications. Dr. Lazar was the general chair of the ASSETS 2021 conference. Dr. Lazar is the director of the Trace Center and is a faculty member in the Human-Computer Interaction Lab.

Gorham, PhD, JD, MLS, MPM, is a Senior Lecturer in the College of Information Studies (the iSchool) at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is the current Director of the Master of Library and Information Science program in the iSchool since Fall 2018 and a member of the American Library Association’s Policy Corp. She is admitted to practice law in Maryland and previously served as a law clerk in Maryland appellate and federal bankruptcy courts. Dr. Gorham’s research has been published in numerous periodicals and she has authored or coauthored several books.

Taylor, PhD, MLS, is an associate professor and coordinator of the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program at the School of Information of the University of South Florida. She has published articles in more than two dozen scholarly journals, her research has appeared in American Libraries and other professional journals, and she has coauthored five books.

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library and information professionals worldwide. ALA Editions | 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 | Neal-Schuman at