10 Reasons to Check Out the New ALA Intellectual Freedom Manual


I have 4 editions of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Manual (blue, purple, gold, and white) on my professional book shelves, and without question, the most recent is most useful to school librarians. Although I used previous editions, the new 9th edition published in April 2015 speaks directly to me as a school librarian and library educator. With the new edition, school librarians will not be reading advice meant for public libraries and trying to interpret it for a school setting.

Here are 10 reasons you should take a serious look at the 9th edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual:

  1. Find guidance for school librarians throughout the Manual including in the “Especially for School Libraries” sections.
  2. Check out the table of contents and notice the information is grouped into 3 parts for easy and intuitive access.
    • Part I: “Intellectual Freedom and Libraries”
    • Part II: “Intellectual Freedom Issues and Best Practice”
    • Part III: “Advocacy and Assistance”
  3. Zero in on 9 intellectual freedom issues critical to school libraries including:
    • Access
    • Censorship, children and youth
    • Collection development
    • Copyright
    • Meeting rooms and spaces
    • Privacy
    • Requests from law enforcement
    • Workplace speech
  4. Use the advice and checklists to create policies every school library needs such as a privacy and confidentiality policy.
  5. Find step-by-step advice on “How to Respond to Challenges & Concerns about Library Resources.”
  6. Learn the basics about legal issues in libraries in the “Deeper Look” essays explaining in easy to understand language the law on minors’ First Amendment Rights to access information, privacy and confidentiality in libraries, and rating systems to name a few.
  7. Read retired school librarian Pat Scales’ thoughtful essay “Intellectual Freedom and Young People.”
  8. Learn about copyright—an Intellectual Freedom Manual first—from ALA’s copyright specialist Carrie Russell who provides targeted information on copyright law and libraries, fair use, copyright inequities, and the benefits of Creative Commons.
  9. Discover the Internet filtering information needed to advocate against over-blocking Internet content.
  10. Use the Glossary and Bibliography to sharpen your knowledge of IF terminology and to find additional resources.

The Intellectual Freedom Manual is available at the ALA Store. Also available in summer 2015, The History of ALA Policy on Intellectual Freedom: A Supplement to the Intellectual Freedom Manual, 9th Edition, a companion volume which lays out the history of intellectual freedom at ALA and the creation of its foundational documents.


Author: Helen Adams

A former school librarian in Wisconsin, Helen Adams is an online senior lecturer for Antioch University-Seattle in the areas of intellectual freedom, privacy, library ethics, and copyright. A member of the AASL Knowledge Quest Advisory Board, the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee, and a KQ blogger, she is the author of Protecting Intellectual Freedom and Privacy in Your School Library (Libraries Unlimited, 2013) and contributor to The Many Faces of School Library Leadership (2nd edition, Libraries Unlimited, 2017). Email: hadams1@centurytel.net.

Categories: Blog Topics, Intellectual Freedom

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