Office for Intellectual Freedom
American Library Association

Reflections on Libraries, Censorship,
and the Public Good

Tuesday, February 21, 2017
5:30 - 8:30 pm
The Lounge at Iwan Ries
19 South Wabash Ave

Cocktails at 5:30, with the presentation at 6:00 for about thirty minutes,
followed by Q&A and general cocktail conversation. 
Reservations are required.

James LaRue is director of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom, and the Freedom to Read Foundation. He is the author of The New Inquisition: Understanding and Managing Intellectual Freedom Challenges.  LaRue was a public library director for many years, including a 24-year tenure as director of the Douglas County Libraries in Colorado, and was a weekly newspaper columnist and cable TV host. He has written, spoken, and consulted widely on leadership, organizational development, community engagement, and the future of libraries.

The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom was established December 1, 1967 in order to implement the ALA's policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Associationís basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials.  The goal of the office is to educate librarians and the general public about the nature and importance of intellectual freedom in libraries and to support librarians, teachers, and administrators undergoing a material or service challenge.

Jamie LaRue writes, "Free speech was a foundational principle of our nation. Later, in a time eerily like our own, it became the core value of librarianship. Next Tuesday I'll discuss trends in censorship, and what that suggests about the course of the country."

For an example of some of the Office's work, see LaRue's recent blog:
ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom Condemns Censorship of Government Agencies
. (1/25/2017)

Some background:

Toronto 'guerrilla' archivists to help preserve US climate data (12/15/2016)

Scientists Copying Climate Change Data; Wayback Machine Moving to Canada (12/19/2016)

Trump Administration Restricts News from Federal Scientists at USDA, EPA (1/24/2017)

And from 1984:

In the walls of the cubicle there were three orifices. To the right of the speakwrite, a small pneumatic tube for written messages, to the left, a larger one for newspapers; and in the side wall, within easy reach of Winston's arm, a large oblong slit protected by a wire grating. This last was for the disposal of waste paper. Similar slits existed in thousands or tens of thousands throughout the building, not only in every room but at short intervals in every corridor. For some reason they were nicknamed memory holes. When one knew that any document was due for destruction, or even when one saw a scrap of waste paper lying about, it was an automatic action to lift the flap of the nearest memory hole and drop it in, whereupon it would be whirled away on a current of warm air to the enormous furnaces which were hidden somewhere in the recesses of the building.

"In the novel, the memory hole is a slot into which government officials deposit politically inconvenient documents and records to be destroyed. Nineteen Eighty-Four's protagonist Winston Smith, who works in the Ministry of Truth, is routinely assigned the task of revising old newspaper articles in order to serve the propaganda interests of the government." See Memory Hole in Wikipedia.

Also see Book Burning and Censorship in the United States.

About the Cigar Society of Chicago

ONE OF THE OLDEST AND greatest traditions of the city clubs of Chicago is the discussion of intellectual, social, legal, artistic, historical, scientific, musical, theatrical, and philosophical issues in the company of educated, bright, and appropriately provocative individuals, all under the beneficent influence of substantial amounts of tobacco and spirits.  The Cigar Society of Chicago embraces this tradition and extends it with its Informal Smokers, University Series lectures, and Cigar Society Dinners, in which cigars, and from time to time pipes and cigarettes, appear as an important component of our version of the classical symposium.  To be included in the Cigar Society's mailing list, write to the secretary at curtis.tuckey@logicophilosophicus.org.