Librarians for Net Neutrality

image from wikimedia commons showing people in a dark room with lit phones saying SAVE THE INTERNET

Like librarians around the country, the Vermont Library Association is deeply concerned about the recent changes to the regulations regarding Net Neutrality.  Throughout the development and growth of the Internet equal access to information has been the accepted norm.  Net neutrality protects those making the content from censorship and provides users of the Internet with the freedom they need to easily access any and all information.  In particular, Vermont residents are uniquely vulnerable to the FCC’s relaxing of net neutrality rules.  As a rural state we all rely on the Internet to access content we might not otherwise be able to find and our small business community needs to be able to reach customers across the state and around the country.

Net Neutrality is the belief that the companies who provide our Internet access should not have the ability to force content creators to pay more based on the information they provide, or even possibility block content they don’t approve of.  Net Neutrality protects consumers from being charged more based on their Internet use, allows individuals to create their own content without fear they will have to pay to have other’s find it, and gives us all equal access to any content on the Internet.  Sadly, Net Neutrality is no longer in place.  However, Vermont librarians will continue to push for a reinstatement of these norms in order to protect our patrons.  We will continue to offer free access to the Internet at our libraries across the state.  A free and open Internet is so very valuable to our state so residents are able to learn, explore, build businesses, and participate in the world provided to us through the Internet.  As librarians will we everything we can to fight for all Vermonters.
– Angele Mott Nickerson – VLA Intellectual Freedom Committee

An Evening Without: Giving Voice to the Silenced

September 30, 2010 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Centre Congregational Church
193 Main Street  Brattleboro, VT

In celebration of the First Amendment during Banned Books Week, the Vermont Civil Liberties Union and the Vermont Library Association present “An Evening Without…Giving Voice to the Silenced” featuring Vermont authors and speakers reading from books that have been banned or challenged.

The featured readers below will read from the works of authors such as Mark Twain, John Steinbeck and Toni Morrison.
Jerry Carbone is the Director of Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro.
Jon Clinch is the author of two acclaimed novels, Finn and The Kings of the Earth.
Joni B. Cole is the writer of several non-fiction books and co-founder of the Writer’s Center in White River Junction.
Castle Freeman is a writer who has published four acclaimed novels, a book of  short stories, and a collection of essays.
Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina is the author of seven books, including her latest, Mr. and Mrs. Prince and hosts The Book Show, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program.
Karen Hesse is the Newbery Award-winning author of 22 books for young readers.
Suzanne Kingsbury is the author of three novels, two of which have been optioned for film

The program is affiliated with the Brattleboro Literary Festival that will continue September 30-October 1.

The first-ever Choose Privacy Week May 2-8, 2010.

I am very excited to announce the first ever “Choose Privacy Week” to be held May 2-8, 2010.   Choose Privacy Week is a new initiative started American Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee (ALAIFC) and Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) to spark a national conversation about privacy.    Libraries are the natural centers for learning and talking about information issues so  they are the perfect place to invite users join the conversation about privacy rights a digital age.

ALA has developed a variety of resources to help libraries reach out to their communities.    The campaign gives libraries the tools they need to educate and engage users, and gives citizens the resources to think critically and make more informed choices about their privacy.  I hope you take time to explore the website www.privacyrevolution.org to learn more about what your library can do to spark thought and discussion around privacy issues today.  Whether you are considering creating a display, sponsoring a contest, hosting a program or workshop, or moderating a community dialogue about privacy, there are tools that can help.  

Help us spread the word about the importance of choosing privacy.  

Gail Weymouth

VLAIFC, chair

Intellectual Freedom Webinars for Library Trustees

SPACE STILL AVAILABLE – REGISTER TODAY AT http://www.ala.org/oif/onlinetrainings

“Controversial Materials in the Library: Supporting Intellectual Freedom in Your Community”

OIF is partnering with the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF) to present three one-hour webinars in February for library trustees on the topic of controversial materials in library collections.

The webinars, entitled “Controversial Materials in the Library: Supporting Intellectual Freedom in Your Community,” are intended to help trustees understand the basics of intellectual freedom in libraries. They will cover information on collection development policies, procedures for handling challenges to library materials, and tips on responding to controversies that may arise. Angela Maycock, OIF Assistant Director, will lead the webinar series.

Read more

VLA Board adopts Resolution on 2009 Patriot Act Resolution

On September 15th, the  VLA Board Meeting unanimously and enthusiastically adopted a Resolution on the 2009 Reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act.the following resolution. Unlike a resolution passed by ALA Council in July 2009, VLA’s resolution goes beyond Section 215 and address grave concerns raised by the use and abuse of Section 505, National Security Letters.

Read more

Judith Krug – Librarian, Hero, Mentor, Friend

I’ve struggled for words to describe Judith Krug’s influence on my life since her death April 11, 2009. I dare not aspire to do her legacy justice when so many others have paid tribute so eloquently. See: http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/oif/rememberingjudith.cfm
I attended her service driven by a desperate need to be among those who recognized how extraordinary Judith was, and felt the magnitude of her loss, not only personally, but for the country and the world. The tightly woven fabric of her family and their generosity of sprit was awe inspiring. I am forever grateful that they shared so much of her with us.

I sat surrounded by my family, not by blood, but a bond of love, common purpose and respect that Judith knowingly propagated, then carefully cultivated and nurtured. Her boundless love and compassion will carry us through these rapids of sorrow and grief. We will carry on and carry the flame. Thank you dear Judith, my hero, my mentor, my friend and most cherished- my surrogate mom.

Gail Weymouth   Sherburne Memorial Library   Killington

VLA IFC /ALAIFC

“Tango” tops challenged books list for third consecutive year

The Office for Intellectual Freedom has released our list of the Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2008. The list is available below and on the OIF website and you can find more information in the ALA press release about the 2008 list.

The children’s book, “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, remains at the top of the list for the third year in a row. “Tango” still faces frequent challenges for reasons that include religious viewpoint, homosexuality, and age appropriateness.

OIF received a total of 513 challenges in 2008, up from 420 total challenges in 2007. For every challenge reported to OIF, however, we estimate that there are 4 or 5 challenges that go unreported.

“Tango” tops challenged books list for third consecutive year

Read more

"Tango" tops challenged books list for third consecutive year

The Office for Intellectual Freedom has released our list of the Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2008. The list is available below and on the OIF website and you can find more information in the ALA press release about the 2008 list.
The children’s book, “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, remains at the top of the list for the third year in a row. “Tango” still faces frequent challenges for reasons that include religious viewpoint, homosexuality, and age appropriateness.
OIF received a total of 513 challenges in 2008, up from 420 total challenges in 2007. For every challenge reported to OIF, however, we estimate that there are 4 or 5 challenges that go unreported.
“Tango” tops challenged books list for third consecutive year
Read more

When law enforcement comes a'knocking

Dear colleagues,
“It will never happen here!”
Isn’t it human nature to believe that tragedies happen “out there,” in the world, and not in our own communities? Sadly, many communities have cause to know that tragedies do indeed happen at home. My own community, Randolph and neighboring Braintree, has just suffered the agony of the disappearance and murder of 12-year-old Brooke Bennett.
I am writing this because “It will never happen here!” also happened at my library.
Read more