Saturday, November 12, 2016
Tuesday, November 01, 2016
A friend of mine recently shared with me an article about freedom of speech at the Kansas City Library that I thought was very interesting. A summary of the events that occurred is as follows:
A public speaker, Dennis Ross, was at the library, and the library decided to hire outside security for the event. Part of this agreement with this security was that "nobody was to be prevented from asking a controversial question and the security team would consult with library officials before ejecting any nonviolent patrons." However, when a patron asked some controversial questions of the speaker, one of the guards attempted to eject the patron from the library. Additionally, one of the guards stated that they were at a private event and that the library was private property. When the library director attempted to intervene and protect the patron's rights, the guards violently arrested him.
The library wanted this event to blow over, and thus the event was not reported widely until last month, even though it took place in May. However, I think this is an important event to be aware of. The library should be a place in which everyone should feel free to question ideas and concepts without being punished. Even when the questions and ideas being put forth are disagreed upon by the library and any persons of authority--such as the security guards--if they are being presented in a peaceful manner, they should be permitted.
The concept of libraries protecting freedom of speech is something we can take for granted (especially if we are in a program surrounded by like-minded people in a student group dedicated to the idea, for instance). However, this incident shows that there can be real world consequences for protecting this right. Yes, the line between hate speech and free speech is one that is sometimes crossed and sometimes not seen at all, as many individuals on the Internet with an opinion and a keyboard will tell you. However, by standing up for the right to ask questions in a public forum, libraries can help to define this line and lead this discussion by setting a strong example.
What do you think?
Here is another link describing the incident.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Sunday, September 18, 2016
A new school year has begun, meaning we have a lot of exciting events coming up for FLIF! We're going to be adding some more structure to the blog and doing more outreach.
For now though, we'd just like to wish everyone a happy Autumn and invite you to come see us at our long awaited Banned Books display, for September 28th in HUB, by the Rutherford entrance. We'll have bookmarks, subversive reading lists, and witty banter as always.
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Sunday, January 31, 2016
This year we have been busy being on the radio! We talk about all kinds of cool (and important) things. Last month our show covered the difference of Feminist versus Feminized in the context of library professions. This month, we covered Crime and Corrections and the importance of library services for incarcerated persons. Check out our two episodes below. And don't forget to listen to us next month as well! We'll be covering Freedom to Read Week and Banned Books!
Saturday, January 09, 2016
Ok, if I let me mind wander about the intellectual freedom camp, it comes to me that...intellectual freedom must be inversely correlated to censorship. The concept of intellectual freedom promotes the rights of individuals to freely explore ideas either through expression or consumption, and so, one might suggest that with increased practises of intellectual freedom will come decreased practises of censorship; and inversely, with greater censorship will come decreased intellectual freedom. Hmm, this seems kind of obvious doesn't it?
Well, let's see...in theory we promote intellectual freedom because we believe that a) we are autonomous individuals with the right to determine our own experiences and express ourselves freely, b) and therefore, we also do not have the right to impose our ideas and beliefs onto others, c) and possibly, with greater, unimpeded access to contrasting ideas and points of view, we will create a more thoughtful and tolerant society? Ok, let's go with all of the above. Now what? What happens after we create a more thoughtful and tolerant society?
If people are more thoughtful and tolerant, then they will take time to consider various aspects of an idea/opinion/belief, even if it does not conform to their own. So, for example, if I were to tell you about a conversation I once had with JD (a person whom you don't know) who said that slaves were never ill-treated because they were too valuable, (i.e. they represented an investment by the farmer, so why would they risk their investment by not feeding, housing and otherwise caring for their slaves?), the precepts of intellectual freedom kind of dictate that even if you don't agree with this statement, you still need to consider it...give it it's thoughtful due so to speak. Otherwise, if you dismiss it out of hand, doesn't that become censorship?
Ok wait; if you don't allow JD to express his view, then that is censorship. If you don't allow someone to access JD's ideas, then that is also censorship. If you allow JD to speak and someone else to listen, but choose to personally ignore JD, that is...well it doesn't sound like censorship (ok good), but it doesn't sound very thoughtful and tolerant either. If you don't engage with an alternative view to your own, then perhaps you're censoring yourself. Is that even possible? Sounds a little crazy, but you know, maybe it is (possible, not crazy). And if you are not willing to consider an idea, how will that affect your willingness to allow others the freedom to consider it as well?
So let's go back a bit: if more intellectual freedom = less censorship, that means that the more freedom that people have to express their beliefs, the less freedom they have to dismiss others'...but then we're still curtailing one's intellectual freedom!! So does that mean more intellectual freedom = more rights to censorship?!
I don't know where to go from here. Does anyone have any ideas?