For more than 200 years, intellectual freedom has been a constitutional right of US citizens and the world's oldest democracy. Librarians in particular have helped to protect this important right by ensuring that all citizens have access to whatever information they need. In her introductory article, Hannelore B. Rader enumerates the many examples of people in other countries who have not had or do not have access to all types of information. A good example is the former German Democratic Republic and the Berlin Wall. There are also examples in the USA where groups of people or individuals have tried and still try to censor information and to limit access to information. In the present electronic environment, intellectual freedom has become an even more complex issue by allowing individuals a forum to easily state their opinions, whether truth or propaganda. Librarians are experiencing a growth in "banned books" and controversies surrounding filtering software in public libraries. However, the ultimate question remains: should intellectual freedom be restricted? Contains an extensive bibliography of intellectual freedom resources compiled and annotated by Terri L. Holtze.
Reference Services Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 1, 2000
Keywords: Censorship; Democracy; Libraries; Library services; Library materials