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Update from the IFRT Chair

From the IFRT Chair

I am honored to serve as Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table this year.  I am very energized by the great enthusiasm I see in our committees and collectively as a group and staff we are ready to provide a strong forum for the discussion of activities, programs, and challenges in the intellectual freedom of libraries and librarians.

During ALA’s 2018 Annual Conference in New Orleans, IFRT will sponsor a moderated debate on the subject of “big data” analytics in the library world. The right of library users to keep private their individual use of library resources has traditionally been protected by federal, state and local privacy laws as well as ALA’s long-standing guidelines on patron privacy, but those protections may be challenged by the increasing use of “big data” in libraries.  More to come as the program is more fleshed out but please plan on joining us next summer for a lively discussion on this topic in which two speakers, representing opposing points of view, will debate the “big data” phenomenon and its possible consequences for patron privacy. 

This year, the Round Table will plan and implement a two-year fundraising campaign that will raise funds for the Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) Awards program to help sustain the future of the round table’s awards.  The Campaign will include individual solicitations, ticketed fundraising events at the upcoming annual conferences in New Orleans and Washington, D.C. and the securing of award sponsorships.  The IFRT awards include the Oboler Award, the Immroth Award, the Gerald Hodges Award and the Merritt Fund.

Finally, please join our Intellectual Freedom Fighters Public Forum on Facebook.  The Intellectual Freedom Fighters (IFF) want to get Intellectual Freedom issues on the minds, hearts, and tongues of the wider library community. They want to inform you about these issues and provoke tough conversations.  The forum is an outgrowth of the ever-vigilant ALA Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT), which has been protecting your freedoms since 1973.  Please note this is an intellectual freedom forum space which is a place to discuss controversial issues in a rational and well thought out manner. We expect people to have different viewpoints and opinions. Nevertheless, we expect everyone to treat others with dignity and respect.  Please join us in our discussions.

Thank you,

Charles Kratz, IFRT Chair

July 2017