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Intellectual Freedom

Learning Objectives
• Define intellectual freedom and censorship.
• Address issues of censorship and intellectual freedom in the library setting.
• Define challenge and reconsideration.
• Define filtering software and provide examples.
• Define net neutrality.

Intellectual freedom is the right to freedom of thought and expression.

Censorship is the practice of suppressing materials an individual, group, or government finds unacceptable, objectionable, or harmful.

Avoid Censorship

Librarians can avoid accidental censorship through the creation of collection development policies that ensure objective rather than subjective selection practices.

Academic libraries have a particular interest in intellectual freedom because of their focus on education and research.

Read!
Read Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries at ALA.

In a library setting, intellectual freedom is valued. Librarians consider the defense of intellectual freedom an important responsibility.

The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom provides information and services for library professionals dealing with intellectual freedom issues in their libraries.

Try It!
Go to the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. Browse their resources, initiatives, and projects.

Challenges to Library Materials

All libraries need collection development policies that detail the process for selecting materials. They should also have a means of handling challenges.

A challenge occurs when someone attempts to remove or restrict access to library materials. A challenges generally begins with a concern. Oral and written complaints generally follow. Most libraries have a form that must be completed to begin the process of reconsideration.

This process is most common in school and public libraries.

banned

Try It!
Explore Challenges to Library Materials at ALA.

Web Filtering Software, and Systems

lockedClosely related to censorship, is the issue of web filtering systems.

Filtering services provide software that “lock out” specific websites deemed inappropriate. Administrators and sometimes librarians can add or delete specific sites.

Libraries that receive e-rate funds from the U.S. federal government to off-set the cost of telecommunication services must meet the guidelines of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) that requires use of a web filter. This includes both public and school libraries.

Net Neutrality

Net neutrality is the idea that people should be free to access the Internet content they wish without discrimination.

A founding principle of the Internet is that everyone should have equal access to the Internet.

Conclusion

Intellectual freedom is the right to freedom of thought and expression.

Censorship is the practice of suppressing materials an individual, group, or government finds unacceptable, objectionable, or harmful.

Librarians avoid accidental censorship by developing quality collection development policies. Library materials are sometimes challenged. Libraries also have policies to guide the reconsideration process.

Web filters are used to restrict access to materials considered to be inappropriate. Libraries receiving e-rate funding must have a filter system in place.

 


| eduscapes | IUPUI Online Courses | Contact Us | 2014 Annette Lamb (Adapted from earlier s401 materials)

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