Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Who are the pirates?

Cory Doctorow takes a different look at who the pirates are in today's publishing environment in his talk How to Destroy the Book, transcribed for the Varsity by Jade Colbert.

There is also a nice insight into the symbolic value of books in our culture:
"If you’re making a short film, and you want to illustrate a society that’s falling into tyranny, you can just cut away to a scene of a pile of books burning, and everyone will know exactly what you meant."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Barbara M. Jones named new Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom

From the official release:
Please join ALA in welcoming Barbara M. Jones, Director, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, and Executive Director, Freedom to Read Foundation, effective December 14, 2009. In her letter of application, Barbara noted: “Twenty-first century IF issues are evolving quickly from those of the twentieth, due to the following: globalization of intellectual freedom issues; technology and privacy concerns; and an increasingly contentious civic discourse as witnessed in the recent health care Town Meetings…New intellectual freedom issues will need to be articulated in terms of our unchanging IF ideals – to the ALA membership, the general public, and to the organizations with which ALA collaborates.”

Barbara Jones brings a rich background in library administration, scholarship and intellectual freedom advocacy to this position. From 2003-2009 she was the Caleb T. Winchester University Librarian and Deans’ Council Member at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. She held previous library directorships at Union College, the University of Northern Iowa, and the Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY), as well as administrative positions at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), Minnesota Historical Society, New York University and Teachers College Library, Columbia University.

In 1995, Barbara Jones received a Ph.D, in U.S. Legal History, from the University of Minnesota/Twin Cities. She also holds an M.A. in History, Archival Management, and Historical Editing from New York University; an M.L.S. from the Columbia University School of Library Service; an M.A.T. in English from Northwestern University; and, a B.A. in English from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Barbara brings twenty-five years of active engagement on intellectual freedom issues to her new position. She currently serves as Treasurer, Freedom to Read Foundation. She served on the FAIFE (Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression) IFLA Standing Committee, serving as Secretary to FAIFE from 2007-2009. She was a member of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee (1990-1994, 2001-2003) and currently serves on the IFC Privacy Subcommittee (2009). In 2004-05 (and 1986-87) she served as Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table. She is currently an ACRL Legislative Advocate and has also served on state Intellectual Freedom Committees in Iowa and Minnesota. As a FAIFE trainer and expert advisor, Barbara has developed curricula and training programs, and conducted workshops internationally.

In addition, Barbara has consulted, spoken and written extensively in the area of intellectual freedom. In 2009, she published Intellectual Freedom in Academic Libraries with ALA Editions. Earlier writing includes Libraries, Access, and Intellectual Freedom: Developing Policies for Public and Academic Libraries (ALA Editions, 1999) and a number of articles and chapters, including “Libel Tourism: What Librarians Need to Know,” for American Libraries (2009-2010).

Barbara Jones received the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award from the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science in 2008. She was named to the Freedom to Read Foundation Honor Roll at their 30th anniversary gala in 1999.

Thanks go to the members of the search committee for a successful effort: Kenton L. Oliver, president, Freedom to Read Foundation; Martin L. Garnar, 2009-2010 chair, ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee; Mario Ascencio, 2009-2010 chair, ALA Committee on Legislation; J. Douglas Archer, 2008-2009 chair, ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee; Mary Taylor, executive director, Library and Information Technology Association; Karen O’Brien, director, ALA Office for Accreditation; Cynthia Vivian, director, ALA Human Resources; and, Mary Ghikas, senior associate executive director, ALA.

Congratulations, Barbara! All of us in the IFRT look forward to working with you!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Yale Press Muhammad cartoon incident Inspires anti-censorship call to action

In response to incidents such as Yale University Press' decision to remove all cartoons of Muhammad from a book about those cartoons, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the American Association of University Professors, and numerous other groups have issued a statement of principle and call to action that concludes

The incident at Yale provides an opportunity to re-examine our commitment to free expression. When an academic institution of such standing asserts the need to suppress scholarly work because of a theoretical possibility of violence “somewhere in the world,” it grants legitimacy to censorship and casts serious doubt on their, and our, commitment to freedom of expression in general, and academic freedom in particular.

The failure to stand up for free expression emboldens those who would attack and undermine it. It is time for colleges and universities in particular to exercise moral and intellectual leadership. It is incumbent on those responsible for the education of the next generation of leaders to stand up for certain basic principles: that the free exchange of ideas is essential to liberal democracy; that each person is entitled to hold and express his or her own views without fear of bodily harm; and that the suppression of ideas is a form of repression used by authoritarian regimes around the world to control and dehumanize their citizens and squelch opposition.

To paraphrase Ben Franklin, those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, will get neither liberty nor safety.

The full statement is available here.