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The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) provides a forum for the discussion of activities, programs, and problems in intellectual freedom of libraries and librarians.

The IFRT Members Community group is the central hub for discussion, library and events. It is visible to all ALA members but only IFRT members can participate in the conversation.

Review of the Freedom to Read Statement Discussion - First Amendment Question 1

  • 1.  Review of the Freedom to Read Statement Discussion - First Amendment Question 1

    Posted Sep 18, 2023 11:05 AM

    The Freedom to Read Statement is the best known of ALA's documents supporting the principles of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights. The Intellectual Freedom Committee is conducting a review of the document.

    American Library Association (ALA) members are strongly encouraged to attend one or all of the upcoming listening sessions focused on revising the Freedom to Read statement. For those not able to attend the listening sessions, we will conduct a  discussion for that listening session in Connection with each question for the discussion in a separate thread. The discussion  will begin the Monday before the listening session and end on the Friday after the relevant listening session. This discussion will run September 18- September 29.

    In lieu of either the listening session or discussion threads, you may fill out a survey for each topic. Please feel free to share the survey link with non-ALA members. The survey for the first topic will close on September 29.



     QUESTION 1:

    • It's important for us to hear from you:
      • How do you currently use the Freedom to Read Statement?
      • How do you intend to use it in the near future?

    During these discussions, attendees should share their thoughts on how well the current statement addresses these themes and what changes may need to be made to the statement. The discussions will focus on big picture ideas, rather than wordsmithing the statement. Each session will also include a brief overview of what the Freedom to Read Statement is and how it has been revised in the past.

     These sessions will be facilitated by members of the Intellectual Freedom Committee's task force focused on revising the statement. This subgroup is tasked with gathering ALA member input in the fall of 2023. This task force will summarize their findings, then submit the findings to the Office of Intellectual Freedom for consideration of incorporating findings in a revised Freedom to Read Statement.

     The Freedom To Read statement was first published on June 25, 1953, by the ALA and the American Book Publishers Council (the forerunner to the Association of American Publishers). It was published in response to censorship efforts that soared during the McCarthy era. It opens with an observation that is still relevant today-that while the freedom to read is essential to our democracy, it is continuously under attack.

     The Freedom to Read Revision task force includes: Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Director of the Office of Intellectual Freedom; Paul Flagg, member of the Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC); Johannah Genett; Karen Gianni, program director of Freedom to Read Foundation; Eric Gomez, member of IFC; Katia Graham; Eldon "Ray" James, member of IFC; Lesliediana Jones, Chair of IFC; Joyce McIntosh, Assistant Program Director of Freedom to Read Foundation;  Michael Miller; Jennifer Nippert; Aimee Strittmatter, Tracey Thompson.

    Tracey Thompson
    Director of Collection Management Services
    King County Library System