Saturday, September 02, 2006

645: Lecture Notes-- Week 1: Intellectual Freedom Today

Week 1-- Lecture Notes: Intellectual Freedom Today

  • Why Intellectual Freedom and Librarians/Libraries?
  • Why is this course of interest to you?
  • Hot topics in the news: Look anywhere and you will find these issues.

Welcome to the fall semester and our work together. I'm delighted to be teaching this course. Let me suggest that you take a look at my vita for something on my background and experience. Of most importance for this class is my continuing interest and commitment to the principles of intellectual freedom and the role of librarians in their local settings and in professional leadership. Intellectual freedom is often misunderstood and sometimes underestimated in importance. Why do librarians make such a big deal, actually offer a class on the subject? Is intellectual freedom so important? What about intellectual property rights and national security? Why don't we put intellectual freedom on the back burner in order to protect valid intellectual property rights and to assure national security? Why should we not curtail our speech and expression in a time of terrorism?

The way I see it, librarians have a special angle on these issues. We have a point of view that comes from seeing from inside the power of information, knowledge, learning, and understanding. We know the power of words and the importance of protecting personal expression and public speech. Think about your own unique experiences that have brought you to this class. Why do you care about intellectual freedom? In this class you will be able to learn some of the basics of the traditions and current controversies. You will be able to put your learning together in your own personal way to guide your professional practice. This course is for you and your professional development as well as for all of you as a group. We learn by being willing to share our understanding and perspectives and sometimes to disagree with each other. Let's try to learn ways to discuss controversial issues in a respective manner. As professionals in the field, we will be called upon to offer calm, informed leadership to staff, within professional associations, and to the public. In this class we will help each other with preparations for these challenging opportunities.

What are the key issues for you?

645: Intellectual Freedom and Libraries

645: Intellectual Freedom and Libraries
Welcome to the Fall semester and Intellectual Freedom and Libraries. Please use the blog to get started with the course. I have just gotten access to the course shell and will be learning how to use it in the next few days. If you all have used the course ware before, I'll appreciate your suggestions on organizing our work together. Looking forward to working with you all. Dr. Marti Smith

Final Syllabus: September 5, 2006

September 5, 2006
Fall, 2006
University of Wisconsin—Madison

Dr. Martha M. Smith (Dr. Marti)
Dean of Library and Educational Services
Alvernia College
Reading, PA, 19607

Course Learning Objectives:
(Adapted from the syllabus of Dr. Rebecca Knuth, University of Hawaii)
1. To understand the First Amendment as it pertains to censorship of information in general and libraries in particular with particular attention to current issues in the profession and in society.
2. To understand the conceptual and practical bases of intellectual freedom and the core
philosophical principles of anti-censorship adhered to within librarianship.
3. To understand and be able to apply intellectual freedom policies (particularly those of the American Library Association) to daily life and professional practices including collection development, reference and technical services, and leadership in the community and beyond.
4. To understand the history of contemporary censorship in American libraries in relation to other challenges to inclusive service and social responsibility.
5. To become familiar with the positions of pro-and anti-censorship coalitions and with current controversies including the “family-friendly” library movement.
6. To be familiar with cases of censorship, controversies that have received media attention (art and censorship, censorship of violent music lyrics and children’s TV, hate speech, flag burning), patterns of book banning.
7. To be familiar with the issues of access to government information and copyright and alternatives including the Open Source movement and the Creative Commons.
8. To be familiar with censorship issues concerning sexual materials and pornography (including pornography on the internet).
9. To be familiar with internet filtering initiatives and laws, particularly as pertaining to libraries.
10. To be able to articulate professional positions for oneself and to plan constructive action and provide leadership in professional settings.

Texts and Suggestion Readings:
Office for Intellectual Freedom. American Library Association. Intellectual Freedom Manual. 6th ed. Chicago: American Library Association, 2002.

(Optional) Karolides, Nicholas J., Margaret Bald and Dawn B. Sova. 100 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature. New York: Checkmark Books, 1999.

(Optional) Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. The book and the movie. Note that they are different.

University Policies, Academic Integrity, and Students with Special Needs:
Please refer to stated university policies and consult the instructor if you have any concerns. In this class, we will follow all university policies.

Assignments and Grade Percentages:
¨ 10 Reading Reflections and Responses—5% each (50%)

¨ Banned Book Assignment and Engagement in Discussion (10%)

¨ Editorial Assignment/Short Story Assignment and Critiques (10%)

¨ Electronic Pathfinder or Blog and Critiques (30%)

¨ Optional: Wikipedia contributions (personal and professional pride)

Class Schedule:
(Detailed readings and assignment instructions will be provided separately.)
9/ 5: Week 1: No assignment due.

9/11: Week 2: Reading Reflection 1 due.

9/18: Week 3: Reading Reflection 2 due.

9/25: Week 4: Reading Reflection 3 due.

10/2: Week 5: Banned Book Assignment due.

10/9: Week 6: Reading Reflection 4 due. E-pathfinder/Blog topic due.

10/16: Week 7: Reading Reflection 5 due.

10/23: Week 8: Reading Reflection 6 due.

10/30: Week 9: Reading Reflection 7 due.

11/6: Week 10: Editorial/Short Story due.

11/13: Week 11: Reading Reflection 8 due.

11/20: Week 12: Reading Reflection 9 due.

11/27: Week 13: Reading Reflection 10 due.

12/4: Week 14: E-pathfinder/Blog due.

12/11: Week 15: Final Reflections and Action Planning.

Weekly Readings and Assignments:

Week 1: Preview the Intellectual Freedom Manual, 6th edition; ALA, Office of Intellectual Freedom, ; American Civil Liberties Union ; The Creative Commons and other sites and sources related to intellectual freedom.

Week 2: Reading Reflection 1 due. Why is Intellectual Freedom So Important Today?
Intellectual Freedom Manual, Part 1:
Fahrenheit 451 (optional)

Reading Reflection 1: How does the history of the struggle to defend intellectual freedom inform our learning for today? Use specific examples from the readings. What are the issues of most interest to you?

Week 3: Reading Reflection 2 due.
Intellectual Freedom Manual, Part 2.1-17
Fahrenheit 451—The book and/or the movie (Optional)

Reading Reflection 2: Select two or three of the readings on interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights and explain the real life situations where these interpretations would apply. Also suggest why some people would have objections to these interpretations and how you might find a practical solution in real life. Remember that the Library Bill of Rights describes the ideal. In everyday life, we all make decisions about how to apply these ideals to our own situations.

Week 4: Reading Reflection 3 due.
Intellectual Freedom Manual, Part 2 and the USA Patriot Act

Reading Reflection 3: Consider the Library Bill of Rights in light of the USA Patriot Act. How do librarians make the case for patriotism by defending the open and private access to a wide variety of information in our collections? Note the specific content in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on information rights and freedom of expression. . Should these documents be displayed in libraries? How?

Week 5: Banned Book Assignment due.

Week 6: Reading Reflection 4 due. E-pathfinder/Blog topic due.
Intellectual Freedom Manual, Part 3.1-6
See also The American Civil Liberties Union; the Electronic Frontier Foundation; and other key web sites.

Reading Reflection 4: The Freedom to Read documents like the Library Bill of Rights are challenged by the USA Patriot Act and by the various bills and laws that seek to address patron privacy, children’s use of the Internet, and intellectual property right, particularly copyright. Based on your reading and thinking, create a list of five to eight answers to frequently asked questions that could be used by a public library staff. For example, “Why don’t we give parents a list of books read by their children?” Another example: “Can the homeless sleep in the library? Take a bath? Cook?” (See also IFM, Part 4.5)

Week 7: Reading Reflection 5 due.
Intellectual Freedom Manual, Part 3.7-11
Search for relevant articles in the library and information science databases.

Reading Reflection 5: In addition to the readings from the Intellectual Freedom Manual, look for Internet Use Policies in your area or in another familiar setting. Identify the common features and the find out what problems are faced in real life practice? Use documentation from three to five professional articles illustrating problems and practices.

Week 8: Reading Reflection 6 due.
Intellectual Freedom Manual, Part 4
See also the Social Responsibility Round Table and the Progressive Librarians Guild.

Reading Reflection 6: The Office of Intellectual Freedom has been involved in many legal cases over the years. Look at the OIF website and note the scope of the current cases. To what extent should local librarians (including yourself) become involved in the legal and political issues before us today? Should librarians run for office? Write letters to the editor? Participate in protests?

Week 9: Reading Reflection 7 due.
Intellectual Freedom Manual, Part 5
Family Friendly Libraries
Focus on the Family
Lester Asheim, “Selection not censorship.” Various versions.

Reading Reflection 7: Using the principle of selection not censorship, of inclusiveness not exclusiveness, consider how to present the case against censorship to library boards, city/county government, religious groups, and other community groups. Find two or three specific cases in the professional literature to consider.

Week 10: Editorial/Short Story due.

Week 11: Reading Reflection 8 due.
Intellectual Freedom Manual, Part 6: Working for Intellectual Freedom

Reading Reflection 8: Using the LIS literature, find three examples from the last twenty years that describe successful campaigns against censorship. Look specifically for the roles of the library staff members. Did anyone lose a job? Almost? Why is preparation for challenges to intellectual freedom so important?

Week 12: Reading Reflection 9 due. Intellectual Property Rights vs. Intellectual Freedom; The Creative Commons and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Reading Reflection 9: Consider alternative approaches to protecting intellectual property rights. How are digital content resources on the web changing the stakes for publishers and other content providers? What new business models are being tried?

Week 13: Reading Reflection 10 due. The Digital Divide and Intellectual Freedom.

Reading Reflection 10: Consider groups in society who are traditionally disadvantaged by lacking access to or interest in/motivation to use technology. You may want to revisit the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and global institutions such as IFLA and UNESCO. What can a local library, a for-profit organization, or a professional association do to address the digital divide, locally or globally?

Week 14: E-pathfinder/Blog due.

Week 15: Final Reflections and Action Planning