Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Intellectual Freedom for Teens: A Practical Guide for Young Adult and School Librarians

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Intellectual Freedom for Teens: A Practical Guide for Young Adult and School Librarians

Article excerpt

Intellectual Freedom for Teens: A Practical Guide for Young Adult and School Librarians. Edited by Kristin Fletcher-Spear and Kelly Tyler. Chicago: ALA Editions, 2014. I44 p. Paper $48 (ISBN: 978-0-8389-1200-3).

Intellectual Freedom for Teens is a short, easy-to-read introduction to the topic of intellectual freedom (IF). The book's raison d'etre is the fact that many young adult (YA) librarians deal with unexpected book challenges because a large proportion of the titles on ALA's annual Frequently Challenged Books list are YA books that are popular among teens, used in classrooms, or both. The book aims to introduce librarians to the issues involved in championing for teens' intellectual freedom rights, specifically the right to read.

The book is divided into five chapters. The first covers a history of IF and YA librarianship. It stresses that a YA librarian's main responsibility is to make sure teens' information needs are being met. The second chapter discusses how to prepare for a book challenge before it occurs. It emphasizes the importance of materials selection policies to help justify a book's inclusion in the teen collection and covers how to handle patron complaints, prepare front-line staff members, and avoid "self-censorship" (censorship by librarians) that can unintentionally harm teen patrons. The third chapter gives advice on what to do when a book is challenged--whether the challenge comes in the form of an indirect oral complaint, a public attack, outright censorship, or anything in between. …

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