Intellectual Freedom: Meeting the Challenge
Massachusetts School Libraries Study
What is Intellectual Freedom?
"Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored." ~American Library Association
Guidelines for Meeting the Challenge
Proactive guidelines for establishing and maintaining a strong library program and collection. Includes ideas to help the librarian build allies and deflect potential challenges should they arise.
PROACTIVE Steps to Take BEFORE a Challenge; Does your program have:
Materials Selection Policy, approved by the School Committee
beginning of a challenge
***Keep in mind: the “target” is the material, NOT the librarian***
Steps to follow to respond to a challenge
It is important to know and follow the formal steps in your district’s Selection Policy.
If your district does not have a Selection Policy in place, look at one from a similar community, or look at the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom’s
“Workbook for Selection Policy Writing ”
After the formal challenge is made
1. Provide the complainant with handouts as specified in the Selection Policy. For ex:
4. An objective third party should be present during any discussion of the challenge
5. Notify the MSLA Executive Director, Kathy Lowe email@example.com
6. Consult with other library teachers (locally or electronically)
Further Resources from the American Library Association
AASL Intellectual Freedom Brochure
Coping With Challenges and Censorship in Schools: Contain strategies and topics specifically for school libraries
Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA): Summary of the legislation and guidelines for schools and libraries
Page Editor: Ann Perham firstname.lastname@example.org