This text is taken from the PDF found at: http://idaholibraries.org/intellectual-freedom-committee-newsletter/ Please check out the PDF to see the original formatting and to access all of the links. (Well, actually, now the links have been added below too)
This is the first newsletter from your ILA Intellectual Freedom Committee for 2017. You will receive a quarterly newsletter from us that will summarize what is going on in the world of intellectual freedom. Anything to do with Idaho will get priority, but we want you to stay informed with what is going on throughout the country too!
If you have any comments or questions, please email Shalini Ramachandran at email@example.com. And remember, we want to know what is going on in your library! Shoot us an email and let us know about any book challenges, concerns or activities in your area. All communication is confidential; we will consult you before talking to anyone else. Challenges can also be reported to the ALA national office, using this form.
Moeller, Katy. 2017. “5,000 attend Boise’s Women’s March.” The Idaho Statesman. Accessed January 25, 2017. http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/local/community/boise/article127984764.html.
Intellectual freedom and first amendment rights to expression and peaceful protest are important cornerstones of a democratic society. On Saturday, January 21, millions came together to exercise those rights in “Sister Marches.”
Marchers gathered around the world to represent issues at stake vis a vis the plans set forth by the new administration. Issues include a variety of concerns over human and civil rights, along with environment and freedom of information. Official marches were organized throughout the state of Idaho—in Boise, Driggs, Idaho Falls, Ketchum, Moscow, Pocatello, Sandpoint, and Stanley—with Boise’s march drawing a crowd of 5,000. Boise’s March was even mentioned in a variety of national news sources, including the Washington Post and New York Times.
According to the Women’s March on Washington website, a total of 673 marches took place around the world (in all 50 states, 80 countries, and all 7 continents), and the total number of demonstrators is estimated to be near 5 million (womensmarch.com/sisters).
Intellectual freedom empowers citizens to share information and to gather to participate in the formation of social and civil policies, without restriction or impediment. The Women’s Marches that took place around the country and world exemplify the integral place free speech and intellectual freedom occupies in the democratic process.
- On January 30th, ALA President, Julie Todaro, released a statement responding to recent actions by the new administration and specifically addressing issues regarding access to information, discrimination and intellectual freedom. The statement began thus: “We are shocked and dismayed by recent executive orders and other actions by the new administration, which stand in stark contrast to the core values of the American Library Association (ALA). Our core values include access to information; confidentiality/privacy; democracy; equity, diversity and inclusion; intellectual freedom; and social responsibility.” The full text of the press release can be viewed here.
- On January 25th, ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom put out a strongly worded press release condemning government censorship of national agencies amid reports that the new administration had ordered a blackout on the EPA and other governmental agencies speaking to the public or the press. The statement started by saying, “The American Library Association (ALA) has as one of its officially stated goals that it is the leading advocate for the public’s right to a free and open information society (Policy A.1.3). ALA opposes any use of governmental power to suppress the free and open exchange of knowledge and information (Policy B.8.5.1). Indeed, the principle of intellectual freedom – unfettered access to knowledge – is a core belief of our profession, as captured in the Library Bill of Rights.” Read the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom’s complete statement here and share your reaction on the ILA Facebook page!
- The problem with student privacy, and how to protect it | School Library Journal.| Students should have two expectations of privacy, says Helen Adams, author of Protecting Intellectual Freedom and Privacy in Your School Library (ABC-CLIO, 2013). They should be able to come in and use the library’s resources and have no one looking over their shoulder. Whatever information they seek on that topic should remain private.
- University of Pennsylvania librarians lead effort to save climate data from erasure. More than 250 people gathered at the University of Pennsylvania on Jan 13-14 for Data Rescue Philly, a grassroots effort to save environmental and climate change data that scientists fear could disappear because of the new administration’s ambivalence toward the scientific consensus on climate change. Bethany Wiggin, director of the Penn Program in the Environmental Humanities (PPEH), said that these concerns prompted PPEH and Penn Libraries to launch DataRefuge, which approaches the problem like a libraries project, placing “multiple copies [of data] in multiple places”.
- ‘Joyful’ March for Life groups rally in D.C., despite some political differences.’ Christian Science Monitor. The article states, “Thousands of people gathered at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on January 27th for the 44th March for Life, with many saying they feel renewed hope for the pro-life movement. But the post-election political climate could also change up traditional alliances.” The march, another expression of freedom of speech in the country’s capital, came a week after the Presidential Inauguration.
- Are police searching inauguration protesters’ phones? | Citylab. A lawyer for several protesters arrested in inauguration protests on Friday claims that police appear to be mining information from mobile phones taken after they were detained raising concerns about privacy violations.
By Hailey Roberts, Meridian Library District
Wilson, Paula. 2017. “Librarian Takes It Off in the Stacks; Goes Viral.” Public Libraries Online. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2017/01/librarian-takes-it-off-in-the-stacks-goes-viral/.
Fake news is a current buzzword, but a long-standing issue in journalism and public information. Read Paula Wilson’s “Librarian Takes It Off in the Stacks; Goes Viral” for an assessment of why “fake news” is (and has been) a problem, and what librarians can do to empower the public to filter through it.
Wilson reminds us to be wary of sensationalized statements and headlines, drawing a comparison between fake news and celebrity tabloids—both constructed to tickle the brain and make you just curious enough to read on. Oh, and turn a profit.
Our connected culture allows us to share information incredibly quickly. This is a great benefit. But, there are limits to the system, and the proliferation of information is often based on algorithms and advertising. If you don’t come across a piece of “news” because it was shared directly with you, you’ll probably run into it somewhere if you happen to be interested in any of the content’s subject matter.
Simply put: you can’t trust every article you encounter, even if it looks legitimate.
Wilson cites an article published by the BBC in December which profiles a group of teens in Macedonia who became rich by paying Facebook to promote their (plagiarized) fake news articles about the recent U.S. presidential election, which may or may not have swayed U.S. voter behavior.
The BBC article doesn’t make any estimates of how many people these fake articles reached, but the young writers earned substantial sums from advertising revenue after publishing. Wilson also refers us to a recently published study by the Stanford History Education Group which explores college students’ civic online reasoning skills, and claims that many experience difficulty in distinguishing credible sources from less savory ones among the flood of information.
Read “Librarian Takes It Off in the Stacks; Goes Viral” and join the conversation about what librarians can do to empower their communities to spot the red flags of fake news.
NAT HENTOFF, A PERSPECTIVE
By Bette Ammon, Director, Coeur d’Alene Public Library
When I was a young adult librarian at the Pocatello Public Library (now Marshall Public Library) in the mid-1980s, “The Day They Came to Arrest the Book” by Nat Hentoff was fairly new. That was my first exposure to Hentoff. His depiction of the attempted censorship of Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” in a high school helped to form my ongoing deep belief in intellectual freedom, particularly in libraries.
Hentoff died this past January at the age of ninety-one. Most known for outspoken commentary in many arenas of speech and information, as well as his background in jazz, his “Arrest” novel struck a chord with me over 30 years ago. In the book, the characters come to understand both the responsibilities of the freedom to read and how critical it is to exercise that freedom.
I realize now that my opinions and staunch adherence to reading freedoms comes from authors like Hentoff, my first public library boss (children’s librarian Betty Holbrook), and my writing partner, Gale Sherman. Gale and I co-taught children’s literature for a time at Idaho State University and were proud and excited to expose our students to the variety and breadth of books for children and young adults. All these experiences verified the critical importance of allowing all readers of all ages the opportunity to read all sorts of materials.
One of my favorite personal stories is that of my then three-year-old daughter insisting to me that the character Mickey in Maurice Sendak’s “In the Night Kitchen” was a boy. When I asked how she knew, her reply: “Because he has that pot on his head.” For those who may not have looked at Sendak’s classic lately, this picture book comes under fire regularly because several of the illustrations feature a mischievous and nude little boy who does indeed sometimes sport a pot on his head.
It’s as important now as it ever was to recognize the importance of unfettered access to all sorts of books and information. We always speak about the existence of libraries in support of a democratic and informed citizenry and that is particularly critical now. People need to read and speak and read some more in order to understand and participate. I like reflecting back on reading Hentoff’s book and the subsequent development of my unshakeable conviction to promote the right, responsibility, and privilege to read freely.
Do you have a story that you want us to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
The Burley Public Library Foundation received an Email from the Smith’s Community Rewards program saying: “Your supporters (8 households) who shopped at Smith’s between 10-1-2016 and 12-30-2016(Cycle 3, Qtr 4) have contributed to your $47.09 total donation. Your organization will be receiving a Kroger check in this amount within 30 days from 1-11-2017.”
On behalf of the Burley Public Library Foundation we would like to THANK those 8 households who have married their Smith’s frequent shopper card to our charity. Thank you!
For those of you who would like to have Smith’s contribute to the Foundation on your behalf, you just need to create a digital account with them at their website. Here is the link explains how to quickly and easily create a digital account, and then how to choose the organization you wish to have Smith’s donate to on your behalf: https://www.smithsfoodanddrug.com/topic/community-rewards-5
Our Non-Profit Organization or NPO number with Smith’s is: 25869 You will need to load that number in at the end of the process to indicate which organization you are choosing to support.
- Smith now has a mobile app that you can register through.
- They say you need to renew your connection to the charity of your choice annually but we have found that the selected organization does seem to be sticky beyond one year. Please let us know if you find this not to be the case.
Thanks for http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/ for the image of the family
William Bowen Thomas
Born May 29, 1920
Lived in Burley 1930-1937
A founder, CEO and President of Big O Tire Company
William Bowen Thomas, known early in his life as Bowen and later as Bill, was born May 29, 1920, in Castleford, Idaho. He lived in the Starrh’s Ferry area of Burley from 1930 to 1937. Those were important years for him. During that time he met and dated Wave Young, the girl he would later marry. He also learned to work hard, as did others who grew up during the Great Depression, and he absorbed the values of honesty, thrift, and courage that later would cause him and his contemporaries to be known as “the Greatest Generation.”
When Bill was fourteen years old, an accident occurred that would greatly affect his later life. As he came into the narrow outbuilding where the family car was, he stumbled over a pile of potato sacks. He fell forward, bumping his right arm. “The pants I was wearing were white,” he later wrote. “As I walked around the car, I could see my white pants were all black in front. As I walked out into the sunlight and raised my right arm, blood was shooting out and that black on my pants was red. That bump I had felt was a mower blade going into my arm.”*
Recently I learned that Governor Otter’s proposal to eliminate the tax on business equipment (the personal property tax), would reduce our Burley Public Library’s property tax revenue by 9.52%. The bulk of our library’s revenue comes from property taxes.
I then went to Idaho State Tax Commission’s Report and found that this proposed cut would damage much more than our library. The property tax revenue to these local units would be cut by the following percentages:
Cassia County 14.61%
Minidoka County 18.39%
City of Burley 9.52%
City of Rupert 23.03%
Cassia County School District 16.23%
Minidoka County School District 18.39%
College of Southern Idaho 10.79%
Other Mini-Cassia cities and property tax-supported entities such as highway and cemetery districts would also receive cuts. (To see the full report go to
http://tax.idaho.gov/n-feed.cfm?idd=358 and click on the link near the bottom of the page that says 2012 Personal Property Tax Analysis.)
Such cuts would either decimate essential services in our area or would force local tax payers to make up the shortfall through the proposed local option tax. The bulk of the money that would be taken from our local area would go to large corporations, which, though they may provide jobs in Idaho, send their profits out of the state. (Small business will no longer have to pay this tax when Idaho’s growth reaches 4% and the law passed in 2008 becomes effective.)
If you are as concerned as I am about what these proposed cuts would do to our local area, please contact our legislators. They are being bombarded by the lobbyists from the large corporations. They need to hear from us.
President, Friends of the Burley Public Library
“Milton Hermon (M.H.) King lost his father to typhoid pneumonia when he was eight. Until he was in the sixth grade, his schooling consisted of a few months of classes in a country school. When his family rented their farm and moved to Fort Scott, Kansas, he was enrolled in school full-time for two years. These were nine-month sessions. After he completed eighth grade, as was the tradition, he started working. His mother found him a good proprietor and he began an apprenticeship at a dry goods store eleven miles away. This was in 1889.”
Thus begins the family account of Lizabeth King’s grandfather, M.H., who in 1915 founded of King’s Variety Store in Burley, Idaho. M. H. King’s son, Hermon E. King, would expand the business to over thirty stores in six western states, primarily Idaho and Utah, and with his wife, Jean, make possible the construction of the King Fine Arts Center in Burley.
How was M.H. able to gain the knowledge that enabled him to start such a successful business? He tried to get as much information as possible from reading, mostly books and magazines from the public library. His reading always had a check mark where he laid it down to go to work, taking it up again when he had some spare moments. Lizabeth continued, “his struggle with and his persistence in educating himself by using libraries explained his keen interest in public libraries, where knowledge, in its many forms, was available to anyone who wanted it.” He, his wife Edith, all his children and his grandchildren were and are life-long learners, due in part to the example he set.
The King family has continued to support libraries, knowing how critical the public library was to their grandfather’s success. Jean King, wife of Hermon, served on the Burley Public Library board for many years. She was a member of the “greatest generation” – people who made possible the construction of the current Burley Public Library building in 1959. Hermon and Jean’s children still continue to support our local library, even though several have moved out of state.
Today some of us in the Mini-Cassia area are aware of how much we owe the King family for helping to build our community. All of us who attend the performances and other activites in the King Fine Arts Center know of its value. But we also need to recognize that we owe a debt to a public library somewhere in the Midwest that enabled M.H. King to advance his early education, and to the Burley Public Library where he continued his studies for the 36 years he lived in our community. With the education that came from public libraries, he established the business that started it all.
(Written by Kathleen Hedberg)