NYLA Intellectual Freedom Committee
The Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) serves as a liaison between the NYLA membership and the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom (ALA-OIF), and maintains a strong partnership with NYLA's Intellectual Freedom Roundtable. The IFC promotes the use of ALA-OIF resources and services within New York State and acts in concert with NYLA's Legislative Committee to determine whether an intellectual freedom issue has a state legislative component. The IFC also administers the NYLA Intellectual Freedom Award.
The chair is appointed by the NYLA President-Elect for a one-year term, with start and end dates coinciding with the Annual Conference. The NYLA President-Elect also appoints two at-large members who serve for a three-year term, with start and end dates coinciding with the Annual Conference. Each Section may appoint a representative to serve on the committee for a renewable one-year term, with start and end dates coinciding with the Annual Conference.
NYLA Position Statement on the Defense of Intellectual Freedom
The New York Library Association (NYLA) reaffirms its commitment to protecting and upholding intellectual freedom and the freedom to read. We advocate for the rights of all patrons to access information on a variety of topics and viewpoints without restrictions, which is a fundamental act of participation in a democracy.
With the increasing number of challenges, especially for books regarding race and LGBTQ+ communities, New York’s school libraries and librarians are being pressured to censor and restrict access to information. Parents have the right to set restrictions for their own children, but no person or group has the right to deny access to all readers. This principle applies equally to the free access of information in other types of libraries as well.
Libraries are unique institutions of education and knowledge that provide information with impartiality and balance. Library materials are carefully selected by professionally trained librarians to represent a broad range of ideas and opinions and appeal to the needs and interests of all members of their communities. In a democratic society, partisan disagreements cannot dictate the decision to remove such materials.
Therefore, the New York Library Association stands firmly opposed to the restriction, removal, and/or censorship of books and other library materials in an attempt to limit the freedom to read or obstruct intellectual freedom.
Adopted by NYLA Council
November 18, 2021
Intellectual Freedom Award
Learn more here about the Intellectual Freedom Award.
Do You Want To Report A Challenged Library Material in New York State?
Click here to report challenged library materials. Please note this form is being used to collect data and will not be used to generate a response. We ask users to limit or omit any personally identifiable information since this will be considered public information and can be subjected to FOIL Requests.
If you need support responding to a challenge, contact your school library system, your public library system, and/or this committee. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom collects information about intellectual freedom challenges from media reports and individuals. Individuals can report intellectual freedom challenges including library materials, services, and programs to ALA using their online form.
Intellectual Freedom Resources
NYLA Legal Defense Fund's purpose is to provide assistance to libraries on legal matters that have statewide implications for the library community.
Freedom to Read Foundation is a non-profit legal and educational organization affiliated with the American Library Association. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees all individuals the right to express their ideas without governmental interference and to read and listen to the ideas of others. The Freedom to Read Foundation was established to promote and defend this right; to foster libraries as institutions wherein every individual's First Amendment freedoms are fulfilled, and to support the right of libraries to include in their collections and make available any work which they may legally acquire.
The Merritt Fund is devoted to the support, maintenance, medical care, and welfare of librarians and library workers who are denied employment rights, facing discrimination, denied rights for defending intellectual freedom, threatened with loss of employment, or discharged because of their stand for the cause of intellectual freedom and defense of privacy rights.
ALA Tools for Trustees: Terms and Definitions Related to Intellectual Freedom & Censorship
Libraries and First Amendment Audits Handouts
Intellectual Freedom Committee Roster
Click here to see the most up-to-date committee roster. Please log in to view the current roster.
If you have any questions or queries regarding Intellectual Freedom, please contact the current Intellectual Freedom Committee Chair, Ashley Hawkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.