Category: Intellectual Freedom

Voltaire’s Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet: A New Translation

Voltaire’s Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet: A New Translation Author: Voltaire Translation and Introduction: Hanna Burton Preface: Malise Ruthven Price: $15.00 ISBN: 978-1-936117-81-9 Published: September 2013 Printed on acid-free paper. Voltaire’s play Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet was controversial in its own day, and has stirred up controversy in recent decades as attempts to mount … Read more Voltaire’s Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet: A New Translation

Daniel McGowan Forbidden From Publishing Articles Without Permission

The constitutional rights of people who are caught up in the criminal justice system are always an issue, but this is a little bit different, because the activities that got Daniel McGowan in trouble with the law were political activities in the first place. I recommend this article in the Village Voice to the ALA … Read more Daniel McGowan Forbidden From Publishing Articles Without Permission

Whistleblowers, Intellectual Freedom, and Librarians

On February 28, 2013, Bradley Manning read a 35-page statement at a courthouse in Fort Meade, in which he detailed how and why he released certain information to the public. The redacted transcript reveals several intellectual freedom issues that have been central to some recent discussions at American Library Association meetings. Among these issues are … Read more Whistleblowers, Intellectual Freedom, and Librarians

Banned Books Week – Yeai Us? Not So Fast. Sandy Berman on Self-Censorship

Banned Books Week sometimes feels like National Library Week, in the sense that it is something that lets librarians shine a celebratory spotlight on our profession, since we are all about the freedom to read, always opposing small-minded censors. Feeling good about the heroic narrative at the core of our profession is a perk of … Read more Banned Books Week – Yeai Us? Not So Fast. Sandy Berman on Self-Censorship

Censorship at Canadian Library Association Conference – Librarians Expelled by Security Guards for Leafletting

Take note of this outrageous situation at the Canadian Library Association conference yesterday. Librarians opposing cuts to the Canadian National Library and Archives were ejected from the conference by force for passing out leaflets. The Executive Director of CLA claimed that the library conference was “not the right venue” for such activism. Read all about … Read more Censorship at Canadian Library Association Conference – Librarians Expelled by Security Guards for Leafletting

Former NYPL employees silenced by non-disparagement agreement

Robin Pogrebin has an article in the New York Times from Wednesday, titled, Former Employees Feel Silenced on Library Project. They don’t just “feel” silenced though. First two paragraphs: The New York Public Library‚Äôs plan to turn part of its flagship Fifth Avenue research center into a lending library has unleashed a torrent of commentary, … Read more Former NYPL employees silenced by non-disparagement agreement

Censorship through travel restriction (two links)

Two links to share about what may be a growing trend – travel restrictions as a way to stifle political speech. A column in Salon by Glen Greenwald a few days ago talks about the Department of Homeland Security’s detention of filmmaker and journalist Laura Poitras at the U.S. border. They detained her and took … Read more Censorship through travel restriction (two links)

New online resource: Alternatives in Print

Alternatives in Print is a directory of book publishers and critical periodicals, consisting of the former print resources, Annotations and Alternative Publishers of Books in North America (APBNA). Library Juice Press published the 6th edition of APBNA, and the Alternative Press Center has been the publisher of Annotations, the periodicals directory. We have been working … Read more New online resource: Alternatives in Print

Obituary: Barney Rossett, groundbreaking publisher at Grove Press, lived to 89

Excerpted from Barney Rosset’s obituary: By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times February 23, 2012 Barney Rosset, the renegade founder of Grove Press who fought groundbreaking legal battles against censorship and introduced American readers to such provocative writers as Harold Pinter, Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco and Jean Genet, died Tuesday in New York City. He was … Read more Obituary: Barney Rossett, groundbreaking publisher at Grove Press, lived to 89

Occupying the First Amendment

The recent assaults by the police on various Occupy movement encampments highlight the tenuousness of our right to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances. Certainly, there is good reason for municipal ordinances against permanently occupying public spaces. Under many circumstances, this would amount to appropriating public spaces for private use, but the … Read more Occupying the First Amendment

Repressive Tolerance (link to essay by Marcuse) and a comment on information literacy

For those who have noted, along with Jon Stewart, that in the Fox News era the media treats facts in a relative way, as a matter of political taste… This phenomenon was first described by Frankfurt School critical theorist Herbert Marcuse, in his 1965 essay, “Repressive Tolerance.” According to Marcuse, it is a problem of … Read more Repressive Tolerance (link to essay by Marcuse) and a comment on information literacy

What Google permits and does not permit in Google eBooks

Given Google’s dominance in search and the scope and integration of their Google Books product (hate to use the word product, but libraries have been converted into product here), we should be especially aware of their policies regarding what they will permit and what they will not permit in terms of inclusion in their full … Read more What Google permits and does not permit in Google eBooks

Rory Litwin interviews SafeLibraries’ Dan Kleinman

Dan Kleinman is the man behind the SafeLibraries campaign, which opposes the American Library Association’s intellectual freedom efforts regarding challenged books in school libraries and classrooms. From Dan’s point of view, as many know, ALA is responsible for exposing children to sexually inappropriate materials. Dan agreed to an interview, which we conducted on Facebook chat. … Read more Rory Litwin interviews SafeLibraries’ Dan Kleinman

Tension over Weibo, the Chinese Twitter

You will probably be hearing more about Weibo, a Chinese social networking site that combines aspects of Twitter and Facebook and presently has, at a minimum, 140 million users, which is nearly three times the user base of Twitter. The interesting news at present is that the Chinese government, which shut down access to Twitter … Read more Tension over Weibo, the Chinese Twitter

My problem with Banned Books Week

Some of my colleagues in the Progressive Librarians Guild used to complain that Banned Books Week was an unfortunate distraction from the greater problem of a propagandistic media system. I shared that view and still do, but it is not the objection that I want to explain today. My problem with Banned Books Week is … Read more My problem with Banned Books Week

Suppression of science has continued, despite Obama’s Scientific Integrity Initiative

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility is coming to the defense of biologist Charles Monnett, who is being hounded by the Interior Department because of a 2006 publication that communicated alarming news about the effects of global warming on a polar bear population. Since the publication was in a peer-reviewed scientific journal and the investigators have … Read more Suppression of science has continued, despite Obama’s Scientific Integrity Initiative