As the YALSA Liaison to the Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC), I’d like to highlight several issues that were discussed by the IFC at ALA annual that are particularly pertinent to YALSA members.
First, hate crimes and materials challenges have increased this past year. The Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF) staff is always ready to help librarians and libraries work through these issues, as desired by the local institution. The Office is urging any library that experiences a hate crime or a challenge to report it to the Office. The more complete the reporting is the better the profession and ALA can work to combat these issues. To report challenges use this link: http://www.ala.org/tools/challengesupport/report
Second, there are two new initiatives from OIF that YALSA members will want to know about.
Our Voices – Founded in 2016 by OIF and ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services, Our Voices continues to work to build a foundation of publishers, authors, and partnerships to bring diverse, quality content to library shelves. The goal of Our Voices is to provide librarians with “diverse content with one click.” It will connect libraries with electronic and in-print content from small, independent publisher and authors. The Our Voices Council will use BiblioLabs as the platform to submit, review, and gather metadata on diverse literature. The books will be distributed through Independent Publisher’s Group. Our Voices is now recruiting librarians to review small, independent publisher and author content.
Intellectual Freedom Boot Camp – First piloted in the fall of 2016, the Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Office for Library Advocacy continue to offer Intellectual Freedom and Advocacy Boot Camp at pre-conferences around the country in cooperation with library chapters. Four Advocacy Boot Camps took place in 2017, and five are slotted for the fall of 2017. Led by OIF Director James LaRue and OLA Director Marci Merola, the training sessions address the four new, key messages of ALA:
- Libraries transform lives.
- Libraries transform communities.
- Librarians are passionate advocates for lifelong learning.
- Libraries are a smart investment.
Attendees craft the beginning of an advocacy plan and are given practical tips on messaging, networking, community engagement, and Intellectual Freedom as the core value and brand of librarianship.
Finally, two new Interpretations to the Library Bill of Rights were passed by Council at the last session: “Politics in American Libraries: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights” and “Equity, Diversity, Inclusion: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights.”
To find out about all the issues IFC discussed, read IFC Chair Pam Klipsch’s report to ALA Council Council. http://connect.ala.org/node/268218