Censorship Libraries Essay

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For a variety of resources related to intellectual freedom, such as information on how to deal with community concerns over library materials and the role of librarians in intellectual freedom and the Internet, visit the Intellectual Freedom page of Washington Library Media Association Online.

Your own state library association’s web page may also have a link to excellent IF (Intellectual Freedom) resources.

Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.

Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms.

We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe.

We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be "protected" against what others think may be bad for them.We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution.We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word.We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free.Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain.Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the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. 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.We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons.We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant.

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