Censorship Libraries Essay

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For a variety of resources related to intellectual freedom, such as information on how to deal with community concerns over library materials and the role of librarians in intellectual freedom and the Internet, visit the Intellectual Freedom page of Washington Library Media Association Online.

Your own state library association’s web page may also have a link to excellent IF (Intellectual Freedom) resources.

We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.

These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.

We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons.

We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant.

These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals.

Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries.

The Library Bill of Rights has been modified several times over the years with the most recent version available from the ALA web site.

While the Library Bill of Rights does not provide legal protection (legal protection comes from the First Amendment), it does provide a set of principles to guide libraries and librarians in dealing with issues of censorship and intellectual freedom.


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