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Intellectual Freedom - Speech or Presentation Example

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Topic: Intellectual Freedom The public library is a repository of knowledge intended to be shared by all equally, and thus must also be protected when minority interests attempt to censor information. The appeal option for the librarian in an instance where a private individual or group demands that a work be removed from the shelves of the library is documented by the American Library Association and includes a direct line to an ALA specialist who can help the librarian work through the problem…
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Download file to see previous pages The librarian does not have the authority to remove works from a public library based on a private complaint, but there is a review and ratings process established by the ALA in 1986 to assist librarians with taking complaints on these types of censorship or moral objection issues. This rating system includes completing a Challenge Rating form that includes: “Expression of Concern. An inquiry that has judgmental overtones.” “Oral Complaint. An oral challenge to the presence and/or appropriateness of the material in question.” “Written Complaint. A formal, written complaint filed with the institution (library, school, etc.), challenging the presence and/or appropriateness of specific material.” “Public Attack. A publicly disseminated statement challenging the value of the material, presented to the media and/or others outside the institutional organization in order to gain public support for further action.” “Censorship. A change in the access status of material, based on the content of the work and made by a governing authority or its representatives. Such changes include exclusion, restriction, removal, or age/grade level changes.” (ALA, 2011) The first level involves an expression of concern. The librarian can fill out the Challenge Rating form with the details of the citizen’s complaint and submit it to library management for review and forwarding to ALA central offices. If enough people do complain about a work, there is the possibility to start a wider review of the work by ALA and local library staff to determine if the minority claim has validity or merit. The expression of concern can be seen as a moderate questioning by the public member and the oral complaint represents an escalation to the formal registration of issues with library staff. In this instance, the librarian should explain the applicable ALA rules regarding complaints to the person, as well as the review system, taking their name, address, and contact information for further contact should the need arise. These details can be included on the Challenge Rating form for forwarding to the ALA central office as required or recommended by management staff. A written complaint gives the public individual the opportunity to submit a statement in his or her own words as to what exactly is found offensive or objectionable in the work, and should otherwise be collected with the contact information of the person filing the complaint with copies forwarded to library management staff and ALA central offices. In instances of formal written complaints, ALA may be able to recommend legal experts who can mediate between the local librarians and the parties making the claim. A public attack may involve media stories, letters to the editor, demonstrations, flyers, documentaries, or other forms of publicity that target a work or public library. These will be noted on the challenge form only in the direct involvement of the local branch in the demonstration activity. In some instances, actual censorship may result in works that are deemed obscene or morally objectionable to the standards of the community. These can be both court ordered and ALA recommended censorship requirements that involve the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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