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Category Archives: Free Speech

American Library Association (ALA) Condemns Proposed State Legislation Limiting Access to Information on Reproductive Health

“The Executive Board of the American Library Association (ALA) issued the following statement in response to proposed state legislation that would censor library materials or put at risk library workers who provide access to information, including information on abortion or any aspect of reproductive health care. ALA stands committed to the free, fair, and unrestricted exchange of ideas, and the right of library patrons to seek information free from observation or unwanted surveillance by the government or other third parties, in accordance with the law and the U.S. Constitution. ALA opposes policies and legislation that ban content, restrict access to information, or compromise library users’ right to seek information without the subject matter of their inquiries becoming known to others. Recently enacted state legislation prohibits abortion and imposes both criminal and legal penalties for performing illegal abortions or aiding and abetting the performance of an illegal abortion. The passage of this legislation and proposals to adopt similar legislation in other states has prompted concerns that provisions within those bills may be used to pursue criminal or civil charges against library workers for providing library users access to reproductive health information, including information about abortion. Some of these bills incentivize individuals to pursue civil action against individuals with the promise of financial gain. It is the professional responsibility of library workers to curate resources and provide assistance to library users seeking information without imposing their personal beliefs or engaging in viewpoint discrimination. They do so in compliance with state and federal laws and the U.S. Constitution, including those provisions that safeguard information access and patron privacy. Library workers do not provide medical or legal advice..”

What’s Happening With The Vinton Public Library

Iowa Starting Line – “Residents of a small Iowa town criticized their library’s LGBTQ staff and their displaying of LGBTQ-related books until most of the staff quit. Now, the town’s library is closed for the foreseeable future. After having the same library director for 32 years, the Vinton Public Library can’t seem to keep the… Continue Reading

PEN America’s Index of School Book Bans

Center for Data Innovation: “PEN America, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to free expression through literature, has created a dataset tracking books banned or restricted in school classrooms and libraries in the United States from July 2021 to March 2022. The dataset contains the book’s name and author, the school district, the month of challenge… Continue Reading

2022 Edition – A Democracy Crisis In The Making

This report is a partnership between the States United Democracy Center, Law Forward and Protect Democracy: “…We issued our first Report less than four months after the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, itself a violent attempt to subvert the voters’ choice. In that Report, we identified 148 bills that had been filed… Continue Reading

With Rising Book Bans, Librarians Have Come Under Attack

The New York Times: “…As highly visible and politicized book bans have exploded across the country, librarians — accustomed to being seen as dedicated public servants in their communities — have found themselves on the front lines of an acrimonious culture war, with their careers and their personal reputations at risk. They have been labeled… Continue Reading

Copyright Protections for Press Publishers

USPTO: “The Copyright Office has concluded a public study evaluating the effectiveness of current copyright protections for publishers in the United States, with a focus on press publishers. The Office’s report—Copyright Protections for Press Publishers—is linked on the right side of this page. In their letter requesting this study, six members of Congress pointed to… Continue Reading

International Attitudes Toward the U.S., NATO and Russia in a Time of Crisis

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought war to Europe at a scale unseen since the 1940s. In response, the United States and its NATO allies have supplied Ukrainian defense forces with weapons and training, while millions of refugees have fled into neighboring countries. The war has been the center of international attention for months, and… Continue Reading

A Supreme Court speech showdown is coming, and nobody knows what to expect

The Verge: “The US Supreme Court is poised to consider a question with seismic consequences for online speech. Over the past year, laws in Texas and Florida have set up a legal battle over whether the First Amendment protects social networks’ right to curate user-generated content or whether these sites should be treated more like… Continue Reading

Confronting Misinformation in the Age of Cheap Speech

LawFare: “In 1995, Eugene Volokh published a law review article in which he predicted that the rapidly growing internet would “dramatically reduce the costs of distributing speech” and that “the new media order that these technologies will bring will be much more democratic and diverse than the environment we see now.” The concept, which Volokh… Continue Reading

The next book ban: States aim to limit titles students can search for

Washington Post: “Republican lawmakers across the country are proposing legislation that would target online library databases and library management technology — tools built by a half-dozen large companies that catalogue millions of books, journals and articles that students peruse for assignments. These bills — already enacted in Utah and Tennessee, on the verge of becoming… Continue Reading

12 Legitimate Uses for the Dark Web

MakeUseOf:  “The dark web has many legitimate and legal purposes, despite its sinister reputation. A mention of the dark web usually conjures up ominous and sinister imagery. While the dark web is certainly home to some questionable content, it also has a number of legitimate uses, from helping citizens circumvent government censorship, to adding an… Continue Reading

EveryLibrary launches the Banned Book Store

“EveryLibrary is excited to launch the Banned Book Store at bannedbookstore.co as the most comprehensive list of currently banned and challenged books in the United States.  Many of the book challenges come from individuals who have never read the books and who have been encouraged by national right wing organizations to present excerpts out of context… Continue Reading