Posts Tagged ‘access’

Intellectual Freedom in the News

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

The Oak Park, Illinois, public library has opened a transgender resource collection.

The ACLU has settled out of court with two Tennessee school districts that banned access to GLBT sites, but allowed access to “reparative therapy” sites.

A Federal Court has found that RealDVD, a software company that provides a means of copying DVDs and maintaining digital copies on the user’s hard drives, violates the DMCA.

The US Marines have banned social networking on the Marine Core Network.

ACRL & ARL have sent a letter to the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division stating that the lack of competition for the Google Books project “could compromise fundamental library values such as equity of access to information, patron privacy, and intellectual freedom.”

You can see FCC Chaiman Julius Genachowski’s remarks on braoadband at the eGovernment and Civic Engagement Workshop here.

The Freedom to Read Foundation is urging the Supreme Court to reject a 1999 ban that would make it a crime to create, sell or possess any photograph, film, video or sound recording in which an animal is harmed or killed — even though these materials are First Amendment protected.

An Oregon rule that could go into effect as soon as September would require all milk producers that advertise their milk as hormone-free must also include a disclaimer next to the label that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found no significant difference between milk coming from cows treated with the hormone and those that are not. Two industry giants have filed lawsuits.

“Expert reviewers” appointed by the Texas state Board of Education have recommended the removal of César Chávez and former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall from the state’s Social Studies curriculum on the grounds that Chávez is an “unfitting role model for students” and Marshall is “not an appropriate historical figure.”
– compiled by X. Avalos

Access to Information as a Social Responsibility

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Recently, I’ve come to the realization that Intellectual Freedom, as envisioned by this committee and ALA in general, is a social responsibilities issue. For librarians, providing access to all types of information is a fundamental responsibility, and one that is taken very seriously.  This responsibility is one we have to all patrons, regardless of their backgrounds and regardless of what kind of library we are working in. Of course, we are all limited by budgets and collection development policies, and seemingly simple words like access and information can get bogged down by things like scope and value considerations, but this cornerstone of librarianship prevails.

For a librarian to include a variety of information sometimes means including more information than might be proportionately available. This also involves sometimes including material in a collection that has been proven to be wrong (or is highly contended), in order  to fully demonstrate the spectrum of information made available on any one subject.  These aspects of collection development are known and discussed. Also discussed is the fact that an individual librarian’s (or library’s) views should affect the provision of this variety of information.

One aspect of collection development I have never heard discussed is this:

For a librarian to most honestly provide the greatest degree of access, must the bibliographer’s biases be made known at a certain point, so that patrons (and/or supervisors and colleagues) may have more knowledge and information with regards to what informed certain purchases? If excellent service is being provided, does it matter? Does knowing a librarian’s opinions vary from your own make one more likely to put the collection under greater scrutiny? Or is the reason I haven’t heard this discussed because we, as a profession trust one another to allow our commitment to this responsibility to transcend our individual politics?

-Xima Avalos