[OLA-IF-News] FW: Update from Patty Wong, ALA President, on attempts to censor Black history and "critical race theory"

OTTUM Tamara K * SLO Tamara.OTTUM at slo.oregon.gov
Wed Nov 3 09:47:21 PDT 2021

An important update from ALA on intellectual freedom issues below.

From: Libs-Or <libs-or-bounces at omls.oregon.gov<mailto:libs-or-bounces at omls.oregon.gov>> On Behalf Of Kirsten Brodbeck-Kenney via Libs-Or
Sent: Monday, November 1, 2021 12:37 PM
To: Libs-OR (libs-or at omls.oregon.gov<mailto:libs-or at omls.oregon.gov>) <libs-or at omls.oregon.gov<mailto:libs-or at omls.oregon.gov>>
Subject: [Libs-Or] Update from Patty Wong, ALA President, on attempts to censor Black history and "critical race theory"

Recently, ALA President Patty Wong was asked by an ALA Councilor what actions the American Library Association has taken in the wake of their August statement on safeguarding intellectual freedom and social justice<https://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2021/08/ala-executive-board-releases-statement-reinforces-commitment-safeguarding>.

I thought folks might appreciate seeing her response, posted on ALA Connect on October 31st. She writes:

  1.  “In accordance with the statement and direction from the Executive Board, ALA staff and member leaders are collaborating on a toolkit that will assist members in responding to any efforts to censor diversity initiatives or curriculum and materials related to racism, Black history, the history of BIPOC and LBGTQ peoples, or to erase the lived experiences of any person.
  2.  From June 1, 2021, to September 30, 2021, OIF has tracked 155 unique challenges, and OIF provided support and consultation on 120 of those cases.  The number of challenges and inquiries received by OIF is 60% higher than a year ago. The vast majority of those requests are confidential, as library workers are understandably concerned about personal safety and job security.  In a few instances, OIF has written letters of support on behalf of the library workers when circumstances supported that action.
  3.  Through the IF News and various posts on the OIF blog, the Office for Intellectual Freedom has shared timely information and advice on addressing book challenges raised at school board meetings, as well as providing opportunities for challenged authors to respond to attempts to suppress or ban their book.
  4.  As lead sponsors of Banned Books Week, ALA (OIF) and FTRF facilitated events, conversations, and awareness of current threats to the right to read, in partnership with librarians, authors, advocates from around the country.
  5.  Public Policy and Advocacy and the Office for Intellectual Freedom jointly organized a legislative summit for state chapter leaders and allies. While the summit was focused on state legislation, many of the local issues are directly or indirectly related, as is the national infrastructure that is advancing these efforts. Follow-up with participants and state leadership will strengthen lines of communication and offer opportunities for training and strategy development.
  6.  ALA's Intellectual Freedom Committee, Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Committee on Library Advocacy receive regular updates on these issues, as does the Executive Board. The State Intellectual Freedom Network-a quarterly gathering of state Intellectual Freedom chairs-shares this information across states.
  7.  PPA and OIF staff have addressed or will address these issues via presentations at national conferences.  These include United for Libraries (August), AASL (September, October), SLJ Summit (October) and PLA (March 2022) conferences. In addition, staff have presented or will present on these issues to TXLA (April, October), MoASL (April 2022), and NCLA (October).
  8.  OIF and PPA are engaging with allies and partners to collaborate on effective response strategies. These groups include the ACLU, NEA, AFT, NCTE, NCAC, LCCR, and others, to ensure that all relevant organizations are apprised of what is happening, are aware of the impact on members as well as opportunities to collaborate at the national and state level. That outreach will expand to additional groups as staff capacity allows.

Effective response and support for library workers addressing challenges relies on active engagement by state and regional library organizations who are able to draw on social and political capital to counter censorship efforts. PPA and OIF are available and ready to assist state chapters working to counter challenges in their states, and we are grateful to our state partners for their collaboration.

Visit ALA's Advocacy Assistance<https://www.ala.org/advocacy/advocacy-assistance> page to connect with staff for additional information or regarding a specific issue.”


Kirsten Brodbeck-Kenney
Pronouns: She/Her/They/Their

City of Lincoln City  |  Driftwood Public Library
801 SW Hwy 101 Ste 201  |  Lincoln City, OR
P: 541.996-1251
E: kbrodbeck-kenney at lincolncity.org<mailto:kbrodbeck-kenney at lincolncity.org>  | W: driftwoodlib.org

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://omls.oregon.gov/pipermail/ola-if-news/attachments/20211103/87181778/attachment.html>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: image001.png
Type: image/png
Size: 4429 bytes
Desc: image001.png
URL: <https://omls.oregon.gov/pipermail/ola-if-news/attachments/20211103/87181778/attachment.png>

More information about the OLA-IF-News mailing list