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Intellectual Freedom


THIS GUIDE was created to help those looking for information

  • on intellectual freedom
  • on the importance of intellectual freedom
  • and on the role it plays in the delivery of library and information services. 

Both the importance of intellectual freedom for the academic community and for those considering services to children are considered

What Is intellectual Freedom?

The profession of librarianship views intellectual freedom as a core responsibility.  Librarians are expected to adhere to the principles of intellectual freedom and uninhibited access to information.  Intellectual freedom encompasses the freedom to hold, receive and disseminate ideas.  

Intellectual Freedom is important because it is essential for a democratic system of governance.  To govern themselves responsibly, people must be well-informed. Libraries provide access to the ideas and information needed for them to do so.

"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. Intellectual freedom encompasses the freedom to hold, receive and disseminate ideas" (Intellectual Freedom and Censorship Q & A, The American Library Association).

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers" (Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

Intellectual Freedom News

The following items are taken from Intellectual Freedom News, a publication of the American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom.  

February 6, 2017

A Unified Voice: Confronting an Assault on Information | Library Journal article.

Mangaman: The power and weakness of policy | Intellectual Freedom Blog; The issue here is that resolve the concern allows for removal of materials without a formal request being filed. 

December 17, 2016

First Amendment Issues

December 2, 2016

Intellectual Freedom Highlights

'Perks of Being a Wallflower' to remain required reading for Dubuque AP literature class | KCRG; "After nearly 3 hours of public comment, mostly in support of keeping the book, the committee of parents, teachers, and students unanimously voted to take no action. That means the book will remain an assigned reading for that class."

Warning: Explicit Content | Intellectual Freedom Blog; "Labels provide little information about the totality of a book’s content, the real outcome of rating or flagging books has been to limit access to materials for students."

Webinar: Student Rights, Protests and Free Speech; "Be proactive in your protection of free speech and student voices. Hear from a nationally recognized consultant on what is legally protected for minors and how not to piss off your administration."


Libraries Protecting Privacy on Social Media: Sharing without "Oversharing" | Pennsylvania Libraries: Research & Practice

Tim Cook says Apple doesn’t need to sacrifice user privacy to improve its AI | BGR

FBI to gain expanded hacking powers as Senate effort to block fails | Reuters (Rule 41)

Congress is about to expand government hacking powers | MIT Technology Review (Rule 41)

Librarians stand for right to privacy and freedom of speech | Public Libraries Online