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Teaching for Learning: Intellectual Freedom

Student Snapshot: Students achieve intellectual and social development as responsible, contributing members of society.

Stripling (2015) states the following in regards to intellectual freedom “One would think that any environment of teaching and learning, especially one where inquiry and independent reading are promoted, would naturally foster intellectual freedom. …  If school librarians want to establish a culture of intellectual freedom, they must exert strong leadership and sustained advocacy. ...School librarians must lead and advocate for a culture of intellectual freedom by enabling their school communities to take action in several realms: connections, policy, access, and student empowerment through inquiry and independent reading.”

*Source: Stripling, Barbara K. "Creating a culture of intellectual freedom through leadership and advocacy." Knowledge Quest, vol. 44, no. 1, 2015, pp. 14+.

Citation for the Photo: Evanston Public Library. Intellectual Freedom 2013 Award. 2013. 

In Practice

Intellectual Freedom 101: Strategies for School Libraries

Description: “The principles of intellectual freedom may be crystal clear, but often the situations school librarians face in applying them are not.” Librarians “from diverse backgrounds, representing numerous grade levels from K through 12, share their personal experiences in facing intellectual freedom situations in their schools, from books to websites to collection development.” 

Resource/Citation: Peterson, Karyn M. "Intellectual Freedom 101: Strategies for School Libraries". School Library Journal, 10 Dec. 2013.

Office for Intellectual Freedom

Description: Established December 1, 1967, the Office for Intellectual Freedom is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Association’s basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials.

Resource/Citation: American Librarian Association. “Office for Intellectual Freedom”. American Library Association.

What Do I Do If? Intellectual Freedom Dilemmas in School Libraries  

Description: This guide for librarians on intellectual freedom provides resources on viewpoint discrimination in Internet filtering, e-books and users’ rights, self-censorship, and challenges to resources containing controversial ideas.

Resource/Citation: "What Do I Do If? Intellectual Freedom Dilemmas in School Libraries.”  Colchester High School, 2013.

Collaboratively Teaching Intellectual Freedom to Education Students

Description: “Together an education librarian and education professor developed a series of exercises for education students about intellectual freedom and book challenges.” 

Resourc/Citation: Meyer, Nadean, and Darcy Bradley. “Collaboratively Teaching Intellectual Freedom to Education Students”. Education Libraries, vol. 36, no. 1, 2013, pp. 24-30. ERIC.

Watching What Students Read in the School Library

Description: An article about how a Florida school district is allows parents and guardians to review the titles of books their children check out from school libraries. At issue are parents determining what is or is not appropriate for their children to read as opposed to the district/school removing the book from the school library.

Resource/Citation: Adams, Helen, and Michael Robinson. “Watching What Students Read in the School Library”. American Library Association, 19 Oct. 2015.

In Theory

Intellectual Freedom - Enduring Values in a Changing World

Description: An introduction is presented in which the editor discusses the three clusters of articles within the issue including how to create a culture of intellectual freedom based on the legal framework of minors' rights in school libraries, people and resources that can provide information about intellectual freedom, and specific intellectual freedom concerns including challenges, labeling, and privacy.

Citation: Adams, Helen R., and Trina Magi. "Intellectual Freedom - Enduring Values In A Changing World." Knowledge Quest, vol. 44, no. 1, 2015, pp. 6-7.

Creating a Culture of Intellectual Freedom Through Leadership and Advocacy

Description: Culture involves behavior, attitudes, beliefs, and invisible norms and expectations. The question for school librarians is: How is a culture of intellectual freedom built, and what is the role of the librarian? School librarians are expected to be instructional leaders from "the middle." They are not in positions of authority over other teachers, and yet they provide connective tissue across the school and often influence instructional strategies, the implementation of inquiry-based teaching, a focus on independent reading, the use of technology and resources, and the integration of skills instruction across the curriculum. If school librarians want to establish a culture of intellectual freedom, they must exert strong leadership and sustained advocacy. A culture of intellectual freedom, through equitable access and freedom of expression, empowers individuals and even schools to grow and change. This article explains how librarians can lead and advocate for a culture of intellectual freedom by enabling their school communities to take action in several realms: connections, policy, access, and student empowerment through inquiry and independent reading.

Resource/Citation: Stripling, Barbara. “Creating a Culture of Intellectual Freedom Through Leadership and Advocacy”. Knowledge Quest, vol. 44, no. 1, 2015, pp. 14-19.

Fair Use Fundamentals

Description: This infographic from Fair Use Week reviews fair use law and details the importance of fair use to the United States economy and to students. It summarizes four factors used to determine fair use, and shares examples of contested cases of fair use.

Resource/Citation: “Fair Use Fundamentals." Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week, 2016.

Monday Means Leadership: Intellectual Freedom

Description: In this blog post for the American Library Association, Deanna Harris collects a number of resources around intellectual freedom, including toolkits and guidelines. She reminds readers that librarians support educators and students in accessing the resources they need and provide diverse collections of material.

Resource/Citation: Harris, Deanna. "Monday Means Leadership: Intellectual Freedom." Knowledge Quest Blog, 6 July 2015.

Intellectual Freedom and Censorship Q & A

Description: The American Library Association answers a series of questions about censorship, with an emphasis on providing free and unrestricted access to information whenever possible. The article reviews existing law, warns against the dangers of censorship, and discusses how library patrons can access the materials they want without censoring others.

Resource/Citation: American Librarian Association. "Intellectual Freedom and Censorship Q & A." American Library Association.

Information Access & Delivery: Intellectual Freedom

Description: This web page provides useful information on censorship in school libraries. Readers will learn about common reasons for censorship, when it is appropriate and how to handle allegations of “inappropriate” materials.

Resource/Citation: Lamb, Annette, and Larry Johnson. "Information Access & Delivery: Intellectual Freedom." The School Library Media Specialist, 2013.

Developing a Curriculum in Intellectual Freedom

Description: The article discusses ways on how independent school librarians have leveraged the opportunities given to them to inform students about their rights and responsibilities with regard to intellectual freedom. Topics mentioned include Internet filtering and access to information, censorship and the freedom to read, and intellectual property and fair use. It also emphasizes the importance of respecting divergent viewpoints and observing privacy rights and responsibilities.

Resource/Citation: Seroff, Jole. "Developing A Curriculum In Intellectual Freedom." Knowledge Quest, vol. 44, no. 1, 2015, pp.  20-24.

Ethics Today Are Our Principles Still Relevant?

Description: The article focuses on the importance of the ethical principles of school librarians and discusses the latest developments related to the American Library Association's (ALA) Code of Ethics. Topics mentioned include the preparations conducted for the ninth edition of ALA's "Intellectual Freedom Manual," the Committee on Professional Ethics' (COPE) "Copyright: An Interpretation of the Code of Ethics," and a review of the Code of Ethics' ethical concerns in relation to copyright.

Resource/Citation: Garnar, Martin. "Ethics Today: Are Our Principles Still Relevant?". Knowledge Quest, vol. 44, no. 1, 2015, pp. 36-41.

School Libraries--Conduit to Equitable Access to Information

Description: Former AASL President shares insight on how it is school librarian's responsibility to teach students and teachers to access all types of information and to evaluate for the accuracy found within.

*Resource/Citation: Preddy, Leslie. "School libraries--conduit to equitable access to information: it is our responsibility to teach students and teachers to access all types of information and to evaluate for the accuracy found within." Knowledge Quest vol. 44, no. 1, 2015, pp. 4-5.

A Study of Self-Censorship by School Librarians

Description: A study about the extent of self-censorship, how it is practiced, and the factors that influence school librarians to self censor.

Resource/Citation: Rickman, Wendy. “A Study of Self-Censorship by School Librarians”. Research Journal of the American Association of School Librarians: Research Journal of the American Association of School Librarians, vol. 13, 2010, pp. 1-21.

Internet Filtering, Intellectual Freedom, & Your School Librarian

Description: A presentation that informs school librarians on how the can practice intellectual freedom.

Citation: Gukeisen, Kate. “Internet Filtering, Intellectual Freedom and Your School Librarian”. Slideshare, 4 Nov. 2013.

Consultant

Name: Michelle Miller

Email: mmiller@mwcsd.org

Bio: Michelle Miller has been the School Librarian in the Marcus Whitman Central School District for ten years. A 2006 graduate of Syracuse University, she recently completed her Certificate of Advanced Study at SUNY Stony Brook in Educational Leadership.  She is active at the regional and state level through BOCES, NYLA, and SSL.

*To access restricted database articles speak with your school librarian or public librarian.