The Social Responsibilities Round Table works to make ALA more democratic and to establish progressive priorities not only for the Association, but also for the entire profession. Concern for human and economic rights was an important element in the founding of SRRT and remains an urgent concern today. SRRT believes that libraries and librarians must recognize and help solve social problems and inequities in order to carry out their mandate to work for the common good and bolster democracy.
Learn more about SRRT on the ALA website.
For Immediate ReleaseThu, 09/07/2023
Assistant Director of Communications and Public Outreach
Office for Intellectual Freedom
CHICAGO - 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. 5 listening sessions will be held this fall, focused on specific themes:
Freedom to Read Listening Sessions:
At these virtual sessions, attendees should plan to 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 Office of Intellectual Freedom reports that the total number of attempted book bans and restrictions in 2022 - more than 1,200 challenges - is nearly double what it was in2021.
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.
About the American Library AssociationThe American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library's role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit www.ala.org.
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