rss feed

Posts tagged: Intellectual Freedom

BBW. It’s that time of year again.

Banned and challenged books week this year is being celebrated from September 24th through October 1st, 2011. The goal is to raise awareness about individuals’ freedom to read. Libraries across the country will showcase books that have been the target of censors, and will highlight First Amendment rights. For more information about Press Kits, events being held across the country, and even mugs, buttons, T-shirts, etc. for sale touting the cause, go to ALA’s Web site:

Four More Years

The U.S. House and Senate have approved a four year extension of key provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, due to expire at midnight. President Obama is traveling overseas, but will be able to sign the law at the appointed time using a device called the autopen, enacting the law.
The recent success in locating Osama bin Laden has been one powerful example that proponents of the extension have used to illustrate the importance its passage. The abilities granted law enforcement via the USA PATRIOT Act are crucial to maintaining national security, they argue, and played a key role in the terrorist’s demise.
Opponents, including Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, fear that the law as it stands could enable the abuse of government power. Sen. Paul has introduced a number of amendments to the USA PATRIOT Act but only two were ever brought to a vote. None passed.
For more information about the USA PATRIOT Act:

By the way, have you ever wondered why all the capitalizing with USA PATRIOT Act? Did you know that PATRIOT stands for:
Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism
Yours in Intellectual Freedom,
Diane Lynch

ALA Will Protest Book Burning with 9/11 Qur’an Reading

Fighting Fire with Free Speech: ALA Will Protest Book Burning with 9/11 Qur’an Reading

"Book burning is the most insidious form of book banning, and just as the American Library Association is preparing to celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, along comes one Rev. Terry Jones of the 50-member Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida. The good reverend’s idea of world outreach is to commemorate the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001 with a public burning of the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book…

Whether or not the Rev. Jones (who is no relation to ALA’s OIF director) proceeds with his plan, librarians and library advocates will assemble on the steps of the American Library Association headquarters in Chicago this Saturday at 1 p.m. for a public reading from the Qur’an to counteract the burning in Gainesville, and Banned Books Week will launch on September 25 with readings from the Qur’an.

“The librarians of America will not stand by and let ignorance rule,” says ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels. “For every would-be book burner, there are thousands of readers who will speak out for the freedom to peaceably assemble and read whatever they choose."

Another reason to be proud to be a librarian, and a member of ALA…

8th edition of Intellectual Freedom Manual makes its debut

The newly revised and updated 8th edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual made its debut yesterday at the ALA Store at the 2010 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.  The Manual also is available online at (search for Intellectual Freedom Manual).

And due to popular demand… a revamped and revised website to supplement and update the print edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual also debuts during Annual. Online at, the new site provides access to new policies and policy revisions as well as expanded online resources for academic and school librarians.

– Steve at ALA in Washington, DC

Patriot Act Renewal Delayed

Diane Lynch, Intellectual Freedom Committee Chair, recommends the following article at from Dec. 16th as a good overview of what’s going on with the reauthorization of the Patriot Act. Here’s a brief excerpt from the start of the article…

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has rejected a Senate plan to include amendments to the Patriot Act in a larger Pentagon funding bill covering the soaring cost of the war in Afghanistan, arguing that to do so would lead to a “revolt on the left,” according to Democratic insiders.

Pelosi’s decision, announced at a closed-door leadership meeting Monday, has forced Democrats to go with a backup plan of extending the Patriot Act until early next year, essentially punting the controversial issue into 2010, when a broader agreement with the Senate can be struck. The vote is now scheduled to take place early next year."

For more coverage of the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, visit this page on the ALA site,

PATRIOT Amendments Act of 2009 update

From ALA’s Washington Office…

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee’s passage of the USA PATRIOT Amendments Act of 2009 (H.R. 3845) yesterday put Congress back on track to achieve comprehensive reform of our nation’s surveillance laws, say the American Library Association (ALA) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL).

“Chairman Conyers and other leaders in the House Judiciary Committee conducted a thorough, open debate of H.R. 3845,” ALA President Camila Alire said. “The weak bill the Senate released after closed-door negotiations would not provide library patrons with privacy online, but H.R. 3845 includes many provisions that will re-establish the balance between the needs of law enforcement and the rights of the American public.”

Read more here…

Judith Krug, Who Fought Ban on Books, Dies at 69

Sad news from the New York Times…

Judith F. Krug"Judith F. Krug, who led the campaign by libraries against efforts to ban books, including helping found Banned Books Week, then fought laws and regulations to limit children’s access to the Internet, died Saturday in Evanston, Ill. She was 69."

Read more of the article here,

Top 10 Banned Books of 2007

In the current issue of the Freedom to Read Foundation’s newsletter, ALA’s ten most frequently challenged books from 2007 are listed as follows:

  • And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
  • The Chocolate War by Rober Cormier
  • Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes
  • The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • TTYL by Lauren Myracle
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Quite a few familiar titles, with a few additions.  If you want to report a challenge to the Office for Intellectual Freedom at ALA, call (800)545-2433, ext. 4223.