Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Library Juice Press Handbook of Intellectual Freedom: Concepts, Cases, and Theories

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Library Juice Press Handbook of Intellectual Freedom: Concepts, Cases, and Theories

Article excerpt

The Library Juice Press Handbook of Intellectual Freedom: Concepts, Cases, and Theories. Edited by Mark Alfino and Laura Koltutsky. Sacramento: Library Juice Press, 2014. 469 p. Paper $50 (ISBN: 978-1-936117-57-4).

Intellectual freedom is a concept that is widely debated but frequently misunderstood. The American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights outlines core policies for libraries in promoting intellectual freedom, but as anyone who has dealt with this concept in practice knows, its application is nuanced and ever-evolving. Rather than a guide on day-to-day issues of intellectual freedom in libraries, this collection of essays explores the idea of intellectual freedom from historical, philosophical, legal, and practical angles. Despite its title, this work takes a more comprehensive than library-specific approach to intellectual freedom; topics addressed span its early historical origins in Athens to contemporary issues, including the open access movement and government secrecy and censorship. This is not to suggest that the book is not useful to practicing librarians; most of the collection's more lofty writings, including a piece on Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci's work, discuss how their ideas are applicable to libraries, and Loretta Gaffney's "Intellectual Freedom and Libraries" is a remarkable reflection on how the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) prompted ALA to reconsider its stance on internet filters in libraries. …

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