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July 28, 2015 - Committee Update: Intellectual Freedom
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Greetings from the 2015 Intellectual Freedom Committee (aka IFC)! The past few months have been filled with important decisions, challenges, and votes that have shocked, thrilled, and outraged Americans. From the legalization of same-sex marriage, the banning of the Confederate flag around the country, the expansion of graphic novels in literary curriculum, to the extension of the Patriot Act; the world we know is being reshaped. As librarians, these changes bring questions and opportunities. To display or not to display? What happened when the Ames Public Library flew a Pride Flag during Pride Week? To program or not to program? Expand these collections using resources such as No Time for Flash Cards blogger Allison McDonald’s recommended list “21 Children’s Books That Celebrate LGBT Families,” or reevaluate the current collections? How do we respond to patrons who may object to any of the above as libraries are experiencing in public libraries in Dallas-Fort Worth and across the country?   Do we play it safe, push the boundaries, or identify a balance between the two?  

Furthermore, will these transformations change the way filters are deliberated? Will it convince some communities to be less stringent with some topics or more determined with others? Will communities and library boards that may not have been as concerned with collection development pay more attention and have more questions and requests (or objections) now that these topics are in the headlines of mainstream media or more commonplace in society? Crafton Hills College recently made headlines when a student and her parents objected to required reading in an English course. Did you immediately check your shelves to see if the titles were in your collection? Were you relieved or concerned with what you discovered (i.e. did you make a display in defiance, order multiple copies, or check it out)?

 Are we representing ourselves as an entity and a profession when these issues are on the line? In the July issue of Library Journal, Anne Macdonald shares her perspective on the profession’s involvement in the recent Patriot Act vote. Could we have done more? Have we become immune to the Patriot Act and refocused our concerns elsewhere? Our goal is to introduce you to taboo topics and interesting exercises in intellectual freedom to guide you through these conundrums.

We would like to invite each of you to let us know what you would like to see the IFC exploring and discussing. Follow the CLA Intellectual Freedom Committee on Facebook or email us at   to recommend areas of interest and contribute to discussions. We look forward to hearing your ideas, keeping you on the forefront of important happenings, and sharing tips and resources to support you and your libraries with the challenges and opportunities of intellectual freedom.

The CLA Intellectual Freedom Committee






Aronsen, Gavin. "Library Pride Flag Drew mostly Positive Reactions." McClatchy - Tribune Business NewsJul 05 2015. ProQuest.Web. 13 July 2015 .

Chavez, Stella M. "Caught In The Middle: Librarians On The Debate Over LGBT Children's Books." (n.d.): n. pag. Caught In The Middle: Librarians On The Debate Over LGBT Children's Books. Kera News, 7 July 2015. Web. 13 July 2015.

Emerson, Sandra. "Crafton Hills Graphic Novels Course Not to have Disclaimer." Redlands Daily FactsJul 08 2015. ProQuest. Web. 13 July 2015 .

Macdonald, Anne. "Where are we?" Library Journal 1 July 2015: 12. General OneFile. Web. 13 July 2015.

McDonald, Alison. "21 Children's Books That Celebrate LGBT Families - No Time For Flash Cards." Web log post. No Time For Flash Cards. N.p., 26 June 2015. Web. 13 July 2015.