Intellectual freedom, freedom to read, academic freedom. We’re all familiar with these phrases, and in so many ways, what we do as librarians and teachers is to protect the very principles of these phrases. Unfortunately, we are at a time in our history where it seems that we are not sure if we are winning battles but losing the war. Over 36 states have introduced bills that, in some way, censors language and/or curriculum and books that are used in classrooms. Political and parent groups are consistently challenging books that are used in school and public libraries and school curriculums. Citizens are even filing criminal complaints about books. Some librarians and teachers have faced this onslaught of challenges head on while others have heard horror stories and worry, even fear, that they will also face a reckoning of some sort. Through it all, however, librarians and teachers must consider what is best for students.
In this issue we want to consider what happens when we challenge intellectual freedom. This issue is open for articles that provide broad and specific discussions that address questions/topics such as (but not limited to):
- What happens to our students when we censor the very materials that depict the lives that they lead, their homes, their families? Are they themselves being censored?
- What constitutes truth? And, whose truth gets to have representation?
- How does censoring cause further harm to marginalized groups?
- Personal experiences of book and/or curriculum challenges
- Proactive ways to get ahead of challenges?
- Self-Censorship and the harm that it can cause
- Teens who advocate for challenged books and curriculums
- Events and programs that promote Banned Books Week
Please note that this is a volunteer opportunity with no monetary compensation. YALSA has the right to first refusal.
If you have an article idea for this themed issue, please submit article proposals by October 21, 2022. https://www.emailmeform.com/builder/form/3bQc9KldF3R
If you know someone who has experience on this topic and would be interested in writing for YALS or have questions, please contact YALS’ editor, Yolanda Hood