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ALA August 18th Statement reinforcing commitment to safeguarding intellectual freedom and social justice by opposing initiatives to censor resources addressing racial injustice, Black American history and diversity training

  • 1.  ALA August 18th Statement reinforcing commitment to safeguarding intellectual freedom and social justice by opposing initiatives to censor resources addressing racial injustice, Black American history and diversity training

    Posted Oct 12, 2021 12:46 PM
    Greetings, I address this question to our colleagues on the Executive Board and/or ALA Staff.  I've recently been asked about the August 18th Executive Board statement that says, in part:

    ALA member leaders and staff pledge to join with library workers, libraries, and state and regional library associations to oppose any proposal to censor information resources, curriculum, or programs addressing racial injustice, Black American history, and diversity education. We commit to supporting libraries, library workers, schools, and universities facing these challenges and to develop tools that will prepare library workers to defend their collections, counter falsehoods, and engage their communities in important conversations about racial injustice and empowering everyone to fully participate in our democratic society.

    Specifically I have been asked what actions ALA is taking to make its members, and the library community at large, more aware of the increasing number of seemingly coordinated efforts directed at school library collections and curricula and what tools are being developed to assist library workers facing such issues?   It seems only a matter of time before such efforts are expanded to include public library collections/programming as well.

    I think it's an important question and would also welcome any updates on chapter-based activities to inform members and provide tools for combatting these highly coordinated efforts.

    Thank you,

    Eileen

    ------------------------------
    Eileen M. Palmer
    Executive Director
    LMxAC Libraries of Middlesex
    NJLA Chapter Councilor
    empalmer@lmxac.org
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: ALA August 18th Statement reinforcing commitment to safeguarding intellectual freedom and social justice by opposing initiatives to censor resources addressing racial injustice, Black American history and diversity training

    Posted Oct 31, 2021 09:45 AM

    Dear Eileen,

    Thank you for your question. I would like to provide the following highlights around this effort:

     

    1. In accordance with the statement and direction from the Executive Board, ALA staff and member leaders are collaborating on a toolkit that will assist members in responding to any efforts to censor diversity initiatives or curriculum and materials related to racism, Black history, the history of BIPOC and LBGTQ peoples, or to erase the lived experiences of any person. 
    2. From June 1, 2021, to September 30, 2021, OIF has tracked 155 unique challenges, and OIF provided support and consultation on 120 of those cases.  The number of challenges and inquiries received by OIF is 60% higher than a year ago. The vast majority of those requests are confidential, as library workers are understandably concerned about personal safety and job security.  In a few instances, OIF has written letters of support on behalf of the library workers when circumstances supported that action.
    3. Through the IF News and various posts on the OIF blog, the Office for Intellectual Freedom has shared timely information and advice on addressing book challenges raised at school board meetings, as well as providing opportunities for challenged authors to respond to attempts to suppress or ban their book.
    4. As lead sponsors of Banned Books Week, ALA (OIF) and FTRF facilitated events, conversations, and awareness of current threats to the right to read, in partnership with librarians, authors, advocates from around the country.
    5. Public Policy and Advocacy and the Office for Intellectual Freedom jointly organized a legislative summit for state chapter leaders and allies. While the summit was focused on state legislation, many of the local issues are directly or indirectly related, as is the national infrastructure that is advancing these efforts. Follow-up with participants and state leadership will strengthen lines of communication and offer opportunities for training and strategy development. 
    6. ALA's Intellectual Freedom Committee, Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Committee on Library Advocacy receive regular updates on these issues, as does the Executive Board. The State Intellectual Freedom Network-a quarterly gathering of state Intellectual Freedom chairs-shares this information across states.
    7. PPA and OIF staff have addressed or will address these issues via presentations at national conferences.  These include United for Libraries (August), AASL (September, October), SLJ Summit (October) and PLA (March 2022) conferences. In addition, staff have presented or will present on these issues to TXLA (April, October), MoASL (April 2022), and NCLA (October).
    8. OIF and PPA are engaging with allies and partners to collaborate on effective response strategies. These groups include the ACLU, NEA, AFT, NCTE, NCAC, LCCR, and others, to ensure that all relevant organizations are apprised of what is happening, are aware of the impact on members as well as opportunities to collaborate at the national and state level. That outreach will expand to additional groups as staff capacity allows.

     

    Effective response and support for library workers addressing challenges relies on active engagement by state and regional library organizations who are able to draw on social and political capital to counter censorship efforts. PPA and OIF are available and ready to assist state chapters working to counter challenges in their states, and we are grateful to our state partners for their collaboration.

    Visit ALA's Advocacy Assistance page to connect with staff for additional information or regarding a specific issue.  



    ------------------------------
    Patty Wong
    President, American Library Association
    personal cell (530) 848-8768
    personal email: pattywong61@comcast.net
    She/her/hers
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: ALA August 18th Statement reinforcing commitment to safeguarding intellectual freedom and social justice by opposing initiatives to censor resources addressing racial injustice, Black American history and diversity training

    Posted Nov 01, 2021 07:06 AM

    Thank you Patty, I will share this with the NJLA member who asked me about it.

    Eileen

    --  Eileen M. Palmer Executive Director Libraries of Middlesex Automation Consortium NJLA Chapter Councilor to the ALA  27 Mayfield Ave. Edison, NJ 08837 (732) 750-2525 ext. 103 (732) 225-0910 (fax) empalmer@lmxac.org
    On 10/31/2021 10:44 AM, Patty Wong via ALA Connect wrote:
    0100017cd6cf57ba-1ef73c1e-d2f5-49c2-b4a1-b01d358ed615-000000@email.amazonses.com">
    Dear Eileen, Thank you for your question. I would like to provide the following highlights around this effort:   In accordance with the...
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    Re: ALA August 18th Statement reinforcing commitment to safeguarding intellectual freedom and social justice by opposing initiatives to censor resources addressing racial injustice, Black American history and diversity training
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    Patty Wong
    Oct 31, 2021 9:45 AM
    Patty Wong

    Dear Eileen,

    Thank you for your question. I would like to provide the following highlights around this effort:

     

    1. In accordance with the statement and direction from the Executive Board, ALA staff and member leaders are collaborating on a toolkit that will assist members in responding to any efforts to censor diversity initiatives or curriculum and materials related to racism, Black history, the history of BIPOC and LBGTQ peoples, or to erase the lived experiences of any person. 
    2. From June 1, 2021, to September 30, 2021, OIF has tracked 155 unique challenges, and OIF provided support and consultation on 120 of those cases.  The number of challenges and inquiries received by OIF is 60% higher than a year ago. The vast majority of those requests are confidential, as library workers are understandably concerned about personal safety and job security.  In a few instances, OIF has written letters of support on behalf of the library workers when circumstances supported that action.
    3. Through the IF News and various posts on the OIF blog, the Office for Intellectual Freedom has shared timely information and advice on addressing book challenges raised at school board meetings, as well as providing opportunities for challenged authors to respond to attempts to suppress or ban their book.
    4. As lead sponsors of Banned Books Week, ALA (OIF) and FTRF facilitated events, conversations, and awareness of current threats to the right to read, in partnership with librarians, authors, advocates from around the country.
    5. Public Policy and Advocacy and the Office for Intellectual Freedom jointly organized a legislative summit for state chapter leaders and allies. While the summit was focused on state legislation, many of the local issues are directly or indirectly related, as is the national infrastructure that is advancing these efforts. Follow-up with participants and state leadership will strengthen lines of communication and offer opportunities for training and strategy development. 
    6. ALA's Intellectual Freedom Committee, Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Committee on Library Advocacy receive regular updates on these issues, as does the Executive Board. The State Intellectual Freedom Network-a quarterly gathering of state Intellectual Freedom chairs-shares this information across states.
    7. PPA and OIF staff have addressed or will address these issues via presentations at national conferences.  These include United for Libraries (August), AASL (September, October), SLJ Summit (October) and PLA (March 2022) conferences. In addition, staff have presented or will present on these issues to TXLA (April, October), MoASL (April 2022), and NCLA (October).
    8. OIF and PPA are engaging with allies and partners to collaborate on effective response strategies. These groups include the ACLU, NEA, AFT, NCTE, NCAC, LCCR, and others, to ensure that all relevant organizations are apprised of what is happening, are aware of the impact on members as well as opportunities to collaborate at the national and state level. That outreach will expand to additional groups as staff capacity allows.

     

    Effective response and support for library workers addressing challenges relies on active engagement by state and regional library organizations who are able to draw on social and political capital to counter censorship efforts. PPA and OIF are available and ready to assist state chapters working to counter challenges in their states, and we are grateful to our state partners for their collaboration. 

    Visit ALA's Advocacy Assistance page to connect with staff for additional information or regarding a specific issue.  



    ------------------------------
    Patty Wong
    President, American Library Association
    personal cell (530) 848-8768
    personal email: pattywong61@comcast.net
    She/her/hers
    ------------------------------
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    Original Message:
    Sent: 10/31/2021 10:45:00 AM
    From: Patty Wong
    Subject: RE: ALA August 18th Statement reinforcing commitment to safeguarding intellectual freedom and social justice by opposing initiatives to censor resources addressing racial injustice, Black American history and diversity training

    Dear Eileen,

    Thank you for your question. I would like to provide the following highlights around this effort:

     

    1. In accordance with the statement and direction from the Executive Board, ALA staff and member leaders are collaborating on a toolkit that will assist members in responding to any efforts to censor diversity initiatives or curriculum and materials related to racism, Black history, the history of BIPOC and LBGTQ peoples, or to erase the lived experiences of any person. 
    2. From June 1, 2021, to September 30, 2021, OIF has tracked 155 unique challenges, and OIF provided support and consultation on 120 of those cases.  The number of challenges and inquiries received by OIF is 60% higher than a year ago. The vast majority of those requests are confidential, as library workers are understandably concerned about personal safety and job security.  In a few instances, OIF has written letters of support on behalf of the library workers when circumstances supported that action.
    3. Through the IF News and various posts on the OIF blog, the Office for Intellectual Freedom has shared timely information and advice on addressing book challenges raised at school board meetings, as well as providing opportunities for challenged authors to respond to attempts to suppress or ban their book.
    4. As lead sponsors of Banned Books Week, ALA (OIF) and FTRF facilitated events, conversations, and awareness of current threats to the right to read, in partnership with librarians, authors, advocates from around the country.
    5. Public Policy and Advocacy and the Office for Intellectual Freedom jointly organized a legislative summit for state chapter leaders and allies. While the summit was focused on state legislation, many of the local issues are directly or indirectly related, as is the national infrastructure that is advancing these efforts. Follow-up with participants and state leadership will strengthen lines of communication and offer opportunities for training and strategy development. 
    6. ALA's Intellectual Freedom Committee, Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Committee on Library Advocacy receive regular updates on these issues, as does the Executive Board. The State Intellectual Freedom Network-a quarterly gathering of state Intellectual Freedom chairs-shares this information across states.
    7. PPA and OIF staff have addressed or will address these issues via presentations at national conferences.  These include United for Libraries (August), AASL (September, October), SLJ Summit (October) and PLA (March 2022) conferences. In addition, staff have presented or will present on these issues to TXLA (April, October), MoASL (April 2022), and NCLA (October).
    8. OIF and PPA are engaging with allies and partners to collaborate on effective response strategies. These groups include the ACLU, NEA, AFT, NCTE, NCAC, LCCR, and others, to ensure that all relevant organizations are apprised of what is happening, are aware of the impact on members as well as opportunities to collaborate at the national and state level. That outreach will expand to additional groups as staff capacity allows.

     

    Effective response and support for library workers addressing challenges relies on active engagement by state and regional library organizations who are able to draw on social and political capital to counter censorship efforts. PPA and OIF are available and ready to assist state chapters working to counter challenges in their states, and we are grateful to our state partners for their collaboration.

    Visit ALA's Advocacy Assistance page to connect with staff for additional information or regarding a specific issue.  



    ------------------------------
    Patty Wong
    President, American Library Association
    personal cell (530) 848-8768
    personal email: pattywong61@comcast.net
    She/her/hers
    ------------------------------