Welcome to the VLA Intellectual Freedom Committee!

The Intellectual Freedom Committee is concerned with the rights of freedom of expression, and stands ready to assist in situations where these rights may be in danger and is responsible for arranging the John Swan Memorial Lecture.

Contact Us

Chair: Angele Mott Nickerson
Shelburne, Vermont
(802) 448-3698
(503) 896-0877
a.m[email protected]

Banned Books Week 2017

This year Banned Books Week will occur from September 24th through September 30th. Vermont libraries are encouraged to celebrate the week through events, displays, and discussion with our patrons. To support activities for Banned Books Week the Intellectual Freedom Committee has created discussion guides for books which have been recently challenged or banned in the United States. This past year has seen an increase in the number of challenged and banned books. As librarians we must continue to promote knowledge and information for all. Please use these guides in order to let your patrons know that while censorship continues today it is important for all of us to celebrate our freedom to read.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou

Fun Home, Alison Bechdel

Crank, Ellen Hopkins

The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri

The Working Poor, David Shipler

The Color Purple, Alice Walker

A deep thank you to Zoe McDonald, graduate student at the University of Vermont, and Kelly McCagg, Director at Burnham Memorial Library for their assistance on this project.

John Swan Intellectual Freedom Lectures

2016 - Justin Peters
YouTube video of Slate writer Peters, author of The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet, speaking on the role of free culture, libraries, and liberty in America. Given at the O'Brien Community Center in Winooski, VT on April 15, 2016.

2014 - Dawn Sova

YouTube video of Sova's lecture on the current state of attempts to limit intellectual freedom in America in comparison to mid-20th century attempts. Given at the Pavillion Auditorium, Montpelier, VT on January 27, 2014.

2011 - Christopher Finan

Finan talks about his book, From the Palmer Raids to the Patriot Act: A History of Free Speech in America, in which he speaks about VLA being the first sign of hope in the fight against the USA PATRIOT act. Given at Sherburne Memorial Library, Killington, VT on August 25, 2011.

2005 - Laurie Lane-Zucker

A New Vision of Citizenship For a Fast-Globalizing and Ecologically Challenged World by Laurie Lane-Zucker, given at Brooks Memorial Library, Brattleboro, VT on June 9, 2005