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Intellectual Freedom: Home
"intellectual freedom is the only guarantee of a scientific - democratic approach to politics, economic development, and culture." - Andrei Sakharov
According to the American Library Association (ALA), Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored.
Intellectual freedom protects expressive views and ideas of creators as outlined in the First Amendment. According to the American Library Association (ALA),the First Amendment protects public institutions [libraries] from having to compromise the ideals of free speech by establishing a framework that defines critical rights and responsibilities. It protects the freedom of speech, thought, and inquiry, and advocates respect for the right of others to do the same.
Librarians are stewards of intellectual freedom and strive to prevent the suppression of ideas and information. This suppression is called censorship. Censorship is an action to remove materials from public access based on an individual's or a group's objections to specific content or an entire work.
Have questions about how libraries handle challenged content or works?
ALA offers guidance around equal access to information in their (2015) - available for purchase. Library professionals and students also may reference core documents and other guidelines on ALA's page dedicated to the topic of censorship and intellectual freedom.
Learn What Academic Freedom Means to a Campus Community
Academic Freedom is an extension of Intellectual Freedom in academic libraries. ALA said, "A strong intellectual freedom perspective is critical to the development of academic library collections and services that dispassionately meet the education and research needs of a college or university community."
Watch the video from ACRL to learn more about what Academic Freedom means for institutions and their faculty and students.
ALA Banned Books Week
ALA Banned Books Weeksupportsthe freedom to read and battling against censorship. For 2020, ALA created a list of the top challenged books in 2019 to spotlight this year, as these materials were the most targeted for removal from library collections.
Legislative documents from 1789 to 1960, including the full text of Public Laws, all versions of related bills, Congressional Record excerpts, committee hearings, reports, prints, Presidential signing statements, CRS reports, and miscellaneous congressional publications.
Comprehensive ongoing collection of U.S. federal government publications from the late 18th century to the present. Includes acts (laws), bills and resolutions, committee reports and documents, hearings testimony, and selected legislative histories. Also includes the Congressional Record (floor debate) and the Serial Set & American State Papers. Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports, which are nonpartisan reports commissioned for member of Congress and their staff, are included as well. For more complete legislative histories for enacted federal legislation, see ProQuest Legislative Insight. (Updated daily)
Public and private laws are prepared and published by the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) and National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). GPO Access contains the text of public and private laws enacted from the 104th Congress to the present. The database for the current session of Congress is updated when the publication of a slip law is authorized by OFR.
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