Protect Your Rights

Freedom of information is fundamental to the American way of life, and free and full access sets us apart from many countries. Libraries and librarians are committed to preserving both the freedom to read in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. Protecting user privacy and confidentiality is another integral part of the mission of libraries.

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

 

-This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.

 

James Madison once wrote that a “popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps, both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."Madison, who is recognized as the “Father of the Constitution” and a staunch advocate of open government, is honored each year on his birthday, March 16, which is celebrated as National Freedom of Information Day. READ MORE
By Steve ZaluskyWhile waiting to check out books at your local library, this is a good time to consider thanking your librarian for protecting your freedom to read. From Sept. 25 – Oct. 1, our nation will be celebrating Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of our First Amendment freedom to read.Every day, librarians from all types of libraries are standing on the front lines, standing up to challenges that threaten to restrict the free flow of ideas.Those challenges can happen anytime, anywhere. READ MORE
 
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