“Collective Advocacy” & Open Access; ILA Annual Conference 2009

Jennifer McLennan, Director of Communications at SPARC, and Faye Chadwell, Associate University Librarian at Oregon State University, came to the Iowa Library Association 2009 Annual Conference to talk about libraries and Open Access in their talk, “Collective Advocacy: Engaging Librarians in the Open Access Movement.”

As McLennan explained, SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition) is “an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to correct imbalances in the scholarly publishing system.”  Basically, SPARC takes advantage of the amazing opportunities created by the Internet to advance the conduct of research and scholarship!

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Farewell, Intellectual Freedom Fest ’09!

Well, it’s official:  the Iowa City Public Library 2009 Carol Spaziani Intellectual Freedom Festival has come and gone.  What a great month of events!  I just want to say “thanks” to everyone who organized, presented, and attended the festival.

Be on the look out for a PATV / ICPL production of the IFF Remix event, remixed by presenter Tack-Fu himself.  Also, shout out to presenter Kembrew McLeod, whose documentary “Copyright Criminals” will be airing on PBS in January, and presenter Pirate Radio, whose original radio drama “Citizen Q” premiers in Iowa City THIS SUNDAY, Oct. 18 at 11:oo pm on 87.9 FM.

Thanks also to fest co-sponsor University of Iowa School of Library and Information Science (SLIS), who did a couple of very awesome write-ups about the events “Public Libraries, Budget Cuts and Intellectual Freedom” and “IFF Remix“!

Pirate Radio, Tack-Fu, Kembrew McLeod


So I feel like it’s been the Intellectual Freedom Festival Channel over here lately!  That’s ok, though, because I’m pretty keen on intellectual freedom.

Tomorrow is our second-to-last IFF event at the Iowa City Public Library (at noon in Meeting Room A), and this event is especially distinctive as it was conceived of, planned, and executed by Yours Truly.

So. . . . !  Tack-Fu is bringing his old 8-track to show us all how sampling is done creatively.  (He was also making Kanye-Crashing-the-VMAs jokes during our email correspondence, so I honestly have no idea what to expect.)  Pirate Radio will be there with bells on to tell us about how and why they broadcast original radio dramas and nightly bedtime stories without a license from the FCC.  Kembrew McLeod from the U of I Communications Dept. is coming to wrap it all up by discussing ways that high license fees and legal intimidation make it harder for ordinary citizens in a democracy to “write” and “speak back” in multi-media contexts.

I’ll be there eating brownies.  You could be there, too.  We’ll all be eating brownies together.

The Intellectual Freedom Festival Is Here!

Intellectual Freedom Festival

I’m so excited I can hardly stand it – the Intellectual Freedom Festival kicks off this Friday at the Iowa City Public Library!  The Fest is co-sponsored by the University of Iowa Library and Information Science Student Organization (LISSO), and the U of I Obermann Center for Advanced Studies.

What is Intellectual Freedom?

Intellectual Freedom is a basic human right, defined by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. The American Library Association affirms Intellectual Freedom as a basis for our democratic system and recognizes the important role libraries play in Intellectual Freedom issues. To be responsible citizens who have the ability to self-govern, we must be well-informed. Libraries provide information, ideas and resources in a variety of formats, enabling an informed citizenry.

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Tennesse Schools Unblock LGBTQ Websites

In May, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Tennessee filed suit against the Knox County and Metro Nashville school district for blocking lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer websites.  Two weeks later, on June 3rd, the school districts announced that they would stop filtering the websites of gay-friendly advocacy groups such as the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).  You can read the full article about the decision here.

A lot of schools and libraries filter their Internet to block explicit sexual or violent content.  In fact, post Children’s Online Protection Act (COPA) / and Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) legislation, many public libraries are required to use Internet filtering software if they want to receive funding from the federal E-Rate program.

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Teens Need Intellectual Freedom, Too

Earlier this month, someone from the Pelham, NY, public library tattled to the high school principal after an eleventh grader was at the library researching gun conceal & carry laws.  The student was called into the assistant principal’s office and interviewed by the police.  After talking to the student, police Detective Kevin Campion assured everyone that there was nothing to be worried about and that the student had not broken any laws.

Many public libraries make a commitment to their communities–including teens!–that they will protect everyone’s privacy.  You may have heard of a little thing we like to call Intellectual Freedom.  The U.S. Constitution guarantees us the right to access any and all information without fear of persecution (excepting obscenity, libel and fighting words), and librarians have really taken that to heart.

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