Menu
Log in

north carolina library association logo

North Carolina Library Association

Inform. Connect. Support.

Log in

intellectual freedom committee


Mission:  To support North Carolina libraries by serving as a liaison to the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom and providing resources and assistance in the area of intellectual freedom.

Intellectual Freedom Definition: 

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.

https://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/censorship/faq

Committe members:

    • Anne Mavian, Chair - Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Mgr
    • Michelle Wolfson, member - East Carolina University
    • Allison Bryan, member - Elon University


Concern:  A question asked or objection made informally by an individual about a resource in the library that they find objectionable or inappropriate.

Challenge: An attempt to have a library resource removed or access to it restricted, based on the objections of a person or group.

Ban: The removal of challenged materials from a library or school


Staff Training:                                    Introduction to Intellectual Freedom Video

 


State Library of North Carolina Niche Academy - Intellectual Freedom and Censorship Resources


Censorship Statement

The mission of the North Carolina Library Association (NCLA) is to promote libraries, library and information services, and librarianship; and to champion intellectual freedom and literacy programs. NCLA further acknowledges that one of our own goals is to identify and help resolve special concerns of minorities and women in the profession. With this, we recognize the pain and harm that challenges of this nature inflict on the LGBTQIA community – a minority community. We also recognize that the challenges raised recently speaks to the heart of intellectual freedom and why it is so important for libraries to have access to materials that cover all points of view. It’s for all the reasons outlined above that we: 

  1. Support the actions of Wake County Public Libraries in reinstating Gender Queer back to their shelves for circulation.
  2. Support the letter written by ACLU of North Carolina, Equality NC, and the LGBT Center of Raleigh condemning its initial removal. 

We encourage all libraries to review and update selection processes to ensure collections are diverse, equitable, and inclusive. Public libraries have a responsibility to represent a broad range of materials in their collections and to meet the needs of everyone in the community, including those who may be marginalized or part of a minority. While individual library users have the right to voice their concerns about a library book and select different materials for themselves and their own families, those objecting to a book should not be given the power to restrict other users’ right to access those books. Library selection policies should reflect these concepts.

RESOURCES

"What should I do?"

Guide to handling customer concerns and challenges

  1. Before a challenge occurs, make sure your library has a collection development policy, including information about deselection and reconsideration. It is best practice to review and update the policy annually, as well as have your reconsideration committee in place and trained annually. Post the policies, including when it was last updated, in a transparent place, such as the library website. Ensure library staff are aware of the policy and how to access it. 

  2. If a patron approaches you with a challenge, remain calm and respectful, open to listening to their complaints. Remember they might be a concerned parent and/or genuinely care about the library’s collection, but do not make promises or over-identify with the patron. Send the person to speak with a manager if you are not the manager. Document the complaint and save it for records.

  3. If the complaint is unable to be handled informally and verbally, patrons should be given the library’s policies to review as well as a reconsideration form. Consider including in the library’s form a space for the patron’s address (to ensure they are a member of the community), the reason for the complaint, if a person has reviewed the material in completion, and the library’s next steps and timeline. Sample forms from ALA can be found here https://www.ala.org/tools/challengesupport/selectionpolicytoolkit/sampleforms 

  4. Do not pull the book or material from circulation.

  5. The reconsideration committee should read the material in its entirety, and consider the work as a whole, as well as the library’s own collection development policy, the material’s reviews and awards, other industry evaluation aids, and the principles of intellectual freedom. After discussion amongst the committee, a decision must be made and shared with the patron who lodged the formal reconsideration request. Consider including in the library’s policy that after going through the reconsideration process, the material in question will not be reviewed for [x amount of] years. Also include how much time the patron has to appeal the decision. More information about reconsideration committees can be found here https://www.ala.org/tools/challengesupport/selectionpolicytoolkit/committees 

  6. Send your library’s challenges to the NCLA IF committee in order for the NCLA to keep track of the challenges in our state. Please send information to:

  7. https://www.ala.org/tools/challengesupport/report


QUICK LINKS


Libraries provide materials for the interest, information, and enlightenment of the communities they serve, whether the library is public, school, academic, or special. Libraries provide all points of view and challenge censorship. Learn more about what the ALA says in its Library Bill of Rights at:  https://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill

OFFICE FOR INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM

ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom provides support, training, and publications, as well as efforts in public awareness of intellectual freedom. Librarians can find more nformation at https://www.ala.org/aboutala/offices/oif

FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS

The Bill of Rights gives citizens the freedoms of speech, press, peaceful assembly, and to petition the government. These freedoms have been found by the Supreme Court to correlate with the receiving of information as well. The democratic nation also asks its citizens that they be well-informed in order to participate in its system. Libraries, as institutions of information and ideas, uphold intellectual freedom and challenge censorship. Find more information at https://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/censorship

CENSORSHIP

The suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, library rsources that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security.  Learn more about the fight against censorship at https://www.ala.org/advocacy/fight-censorship

SUPPORT FOR COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT

Professional Tips Wiki page on Collection Development (ALA): http://wikis.ala.org/professionaltips/index.php/Collection_Development

Terrific comprehensive overview of collection development with links to resources for writing a collection development plan. Some resources are helpful for specific types of libraries including school libraries and curriculum materials centers.

ALA Selection and Reconsideration Policy Toolkit for Public, School, & Academic Libraries: https://www.ala.org/tools/challengesupport/selectionpolicytoolkit 

Particularly helpful to prepare for challenges. This site includes detailed information about parts of a selection (including reconsideration) policy and reconsideration procedures as well as guidinding documents

EQUITY, DIVISITY & INCLUSIONS RESOURCES

Collection Development resources from Maryland Libraries  https://marylandlibraries.libguides.com/c.php?g=1018501&p=7377441

EA diverse collection is the goal of all libraries, and this resource from the Maryland State Library is helpful in supporting all types of libraries in meeting this goal. It includes professional standards, locating diverse resources, and a sample diversity policy.

PRIVACY

ALA Privacy page – includes Q&A, core values, guidelines & checklists, etc. https://www.ala.org/advocacy/privacy

Patron privacy is of the utmost importance for librarians, but it is often a topic of confusion. This page from the ALA covers the typic with resources from values statements, checklists, education, and how to ensure the privacy of students and minors as well as adults. 

Privacy of Students and Minors – ALA’s resources about protecting the rights of young people https://www.ala.org/advocacy/privacy/students 

IFLA Statement on Privacy in the Library Environment: https://www.ifla.org/publications/ifla-statement-on-privacy-in-the-library-environment/ 

If you need more support in understanding privacy, this statement from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions contains some helpful recommendations.





      Volunteer to work on a committee!


      NCLA Committees

      Archives

      Conference

      Constitution, Codes, and Handbook Revisions

      Development

      Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

      Finance

      Intellectual Freedom

      Leadership Institute

      Marketing

      Membership

      North Carolina Libraries

      Nominating

      Scholarships

      Web & Technologies



      A proud member of

      southeastern library asosociation logo


      Email Us

      Email:

      Need help? Read our help page.

      Give us feedback!


      Address:
      265 Eastchester Dr.

      Suite 133, #364

      High Point, NC 27262

      North Carolina Library Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

      ©2019-2022


      Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software