Intellectual freedom is one of the core values of librarianship and the ACRL Intellectual Freedom Committee is dedicated to promoting awareness of this value and commitment to its principles. These values are of particular relevance to academic libraries where intellectual freedom is also central to the academic freedom that make teaching and research possible.
In order to assist academic librarians in their efforts to promote this value within their libraries and on their campuses, the ACRL IFC has begun a multi-year project to collect and publish best practice in raising awareness of intellectual and academic freedom issues on campus and building student commitment to its principles.
Please share with us how you raise the issue of intellectual freedom with students and guide them to embrace and protect its principles. I also hope that you will pass along this request to other librarians in your state or region involved with protecting and promoting intellectual freedom in higher education.
The members of the ACRL represent a wide and varied community. Without a doubt, the manners in which they address intellectual freedom are richer and more varied than have ever been documented. Most of us create displays or programs during Banned Book Week, but what do we really know about each other’s efforts beyond a few news items each year in our journals? We have not shared the range of our efforts or the knowledge we have gained through our successes. The ACRL IFC wants to address this gap in our knowledge and create a best practices guide that will serve as an inspiration for intellectual freedom efforts in all our libraries.
As I have said, this will be a multi-year project and the ACRL IFC will be approaching academic librarians a number of times and in a number of ways in order to capture as fully as possible our efforts in this area. At this time, we hope that you and your state and regions state’s intellectual freedom leaders will provide us with feedback on the issues or categories of practice they would like to see addressed in our best practices document.
The ACRL IFC does have some preliminary thoughts about categories—staff education/training; displays; programs/presentations for various campus audiences; flyers, posters, bookmarks, and other takeaways; collaboration with other units on campus; collaboration beyond campus; intellectual freedom and library instruction—but we are sure these categories form too wide a mesh to capture everything we desire. What categories do your leaders feel should be addressed? What would help them in their work if we could provide them with documentation?
If you would also take the time to describe the best practices on your campuses, we will also be very grateful.
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