Intellectual Freedom • Bibliographies
Key Intellectual Freedom Resources Bibliography

Adams, Helen R. Protecting Intellectual Freedom and Privacy in Your School Library. Santa Barbara, California: Libraries Unlimited, 2013.

Based on the "IF Matters" columns in School Library Monthly, this book offers practical guidance on intellectual freedom issues related to students' access to information and privacy in school libraries. In its nine chapters, the book defines intellectual freedom in a school library context; explores challenges to library resources; examines the effects of aggressive Internet filtering; covers multiple aspects of privacy for minors using school libraries; delivers guidance on providing access to library facilities, resources, and services for students with special needs; and presents ideas for intellectual freedom advocacy.

Doyle, Robert P. Banned Books: Challenging Our Freedom to Read. Chicago: American Library Association, 2014.

Published every three years, this important reference contains an exhaustive list of books challenged or banned throughout history; however, its most useful feature for school librarians is the "Celebration Guide" which provides hundreds of ideas for celebrating Banned Books Week. The volume also includes a First Amendment timeline, summary of First Amendment court cases, glossary of terms related to free speech and censorship, First Amendment quotations, and a bibliography of books on challenges to free expression.

Eldred, Christine. "The Choices That Count." School Library Monthly 31 (September/October 2014): 34-35.

Vermont high school librarian and intellectual freedom advocate Christine Eldred describes three levels of actions school library professionals can take to apply their knowledge of intellectual freedom principles to their school library program: (Level 1) Gather Information, (Level 2) Implement Best Practices, and (Level 3) Educate and Advocate.

Magi, Trina and Garnar, Martin, eds. Intellectual Freedom Manual, 9th ed. Chicago: ALA Editions, 2015.

Long considered the "bible" of intellectual freedom principles and practice, the latest edition of the manual is divided into three parts. Part 1 defines intellectual freedom, introduces core ALA documents, provides information for creating five key intellectual freedom policies, and explains the connection between the First Amendment and libraries as a public forum. Part 2 is devoted to nine issues of critical importance to intellectual freedom including privacy, access to library resources and services, challenges, and filtering. Part 3 contains guidance on advocacy including communicating about intellectual freedom and where to obtain assistance during a challenge.

Online Resources

Asheim, Lester. "Not Censorship But Selection." Wilson Library Bulletin 28 (September 1953): 63-67. Available online:

As relevant today as it was when first published in 1953, this classic article debates whether librarians are selectors or censors. It describes "selectors" and "censors" and their different points of view during the selection of library resources.

Batch, Kristen R. "Fencing Out Knowledge: Revisiting the Children's Internet Protection Act 10 Years Later." Policy Brief No. 5. June 2014. American Library Association, Office for Information Technology Policy and the Office for Intellectual Freedom.

The report is based on discussions by stakeholders from the library and education worlds at a national symposium, two online forums, and other research. Researcher Kristen Batch's policy brief reports on the misinterpretation of CIPA's filtering requirement resulting in overly restrictive filtering far beyond the original intent of the law in many schools and libraries. In public libraries, she found that users' information needs are not satisfied; and in schools, students' learning experiences are limited. Those who are economically deprived and rely solely on school and public libraries have only limited access to even constitutionally protected information. The report ends with four recommendations to assist with communicating what CIPA really requires and the negative impact of current over-filtering.

"IF Issues and Resources." American Library Association. Office for Intellectual Freedom.

The main web page of the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) is a one-stop resource providing information on the OIF mission, its responsibilities, OIF national initiatives, and a lengthy list of links to resources such as "Censorship in Schools." Along with links to OIF's social media accounts (Twitter and Facebook) and YouTube videos, the site also gives contact information for OIF staff.

"Intellectual Freedom Resource Guide." Eldred, Christine, comp. Colchester High School. Colchester, Vermont.

For many years school librarian Christine Eldred served as the Intellectual Freedom Representative for the Vermont School Library Association. She created and maintains this LibGuide to provide information to those seeking both the basics and current information on censorship and other aspects of intellectual freedom. The "News" tab is especially interesting because it curates on a single page current information from School Library Journal, Google News, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the Office for Intellectual Freedom Blog, and People for the American Way.

"What IF…Questions and Answers on Intellectual Freedom." Cooperative Children's Book Center. School of Education. University of Wisconsin-Madison. "What IF…Questions and Answers on Intellectual Freedom."

Created and maintained by staff at the Cooperative Children's Book Center, What IF? contains over 80 current questions and answers submitted by working school and public librarians. The value in this resource is that most of the questions apply to common intellectual freedom-related dilemmas faced by librarians working with youth. The thoughtful guidance can be accessed quickly and is especially useful for school librarians who are generally the only library professional in a school. Topics range from working with school administrators to advice on working through challenges to ideas for selecting materials without an official materials selection policy. Visitors to the site are encouraged to submit questions and will receive a well thought out personal response.

"Workbook for Selection Policy Writing." 1999. American Library Association. Office for Intellectual Freedom.

Although last updated in 1999, this online resource is still beneficial for guiding school librarians as they collaborate with other stakeholders in creating a school library materials selection policy and reconsideration process for questioned or challenged items in the collection. The workbook describes the elements of a selection policy and provides useful examples of library objectives, selection criteria, library procedures, support for intellectual freedom, detailed information on a reconsideration process, as well as a reconsideration form and sample letter to a concerned individual. A sample materials selection policy with reconsideration procedures is also included.

MLA Citation Adams, Helen R. "Intellectual Freedom: Key Intellectual Freedom Resources Bibliography." School Library Connection, November 2015,

View all citation styles

Entry ID: 1980502

Back to Top