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Category Archives: Free Speech

New State of America’s Libraries Report finds shift in role of U.S. libraries

ALA News: “According to The State of America’s Libraries Report released today by the American Library Association (ALA), academic, public and school libraries are experiencing a shift in how they are perceived by their communities and society. No longer just places for books, libraries of all types are viewed as anchors, centers for academic life and research and cherished spaces.   This and other library trends of the past year are detailed in ALA’s State of America’s Libraries Report 2015, made available during National Library Week, April 12–18, both as an American Libraries digital supplement, as well as on the ALA website at ala.org/americas-libraries and as a PDF file. As society continues to change the way it consumes information, our nation’s libraries, librarians and library workers continue to mirror the needs of their communities.  From offering free technology workshops, small business centers and 24/7 virtual access to e-Books and digital materials, libraries are transforming communities, schools and campuses. Public libraries and librarians are viewed as change agents by addressing unique needs and identifying trends that impact the community. The majority of public libraries offer neutral space for patrons, residents and students to discuss and resolve critical issues. For example the fatal shooting of Michael Brown brought chaos to Ferguson, Missouri. Protests divided residents and caused schools and city services to shut down—but the Ferguson Municipal Public Library stayed open, providing a much-needed safe haven for the community and served as an ad hoc school.  Learning is a 24/7 enterprise for students today, and school libraries continue to become invaluable anchors for education environments. Certified school librarians play an essential part in nurturing   21st-century information literacy skills.  From collaborating with classroom teachers to design inquiry-based learning, school librarians are teaching students critical thinking, technology and information literacy skills.”

A Deep Dive Into Party Affiliation

Pew Report – “Democrats hold advantages in party identification among blacks, Asians, Hispanics, well-educated adults and Millennials. Republicans have leads among whites – particularly white men, those with less education and evangelical Protestants – as well as members of the Silent Generation. A new analysis of long-term trends in party affiliation among the public providesContinue Reading

Brookings Essay – Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Terrorists

The Big Snoop – The divergent views of four respected experts help frame the debate over the future of the NSA in the Snowden Era – Stuart Taylor, Jr.:  “With the approach of the first anniversary of the most copious and sensational leakage of intelligence secrets in history, the consequences of his actions continue toContinue Reading

Open Government Guide

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: “The Open Government Guide is a complete compendium of information on every state’s open records and open meetings laws. Each state’s section is arranged according to a standard outline, making it easy to compare laws in various states. If you’re a new user of this guide, be sureContinue Reading

5 ways to keep your data safe right now

Christopher Soghoian is a TED Fellow, and the principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union, where he monitors the intersection of federal surveillance and citizen’s rights. Before joining the ACLU, he was the first-ever technologist for the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, where he worked on investigations of Facebook, Twitter,Continue Reading

Pew – The Internet’s Influence in Emerging, Developing Nations

Internet Usage More Common Among the Young, Well-Educated and English Speakers: “As more people around the world gain access to all the tools of the digital age, the internet will play a greater role in everyday life. And so far, people in emerging and developing nations say that the increasing use of the internet hasContinue Reading

2014 General Social Survey includes data on wealth, social identity, civic participation

“Since 1972, the General Social Survey (GSS) has been monitoring societal change and studying the growing complexity of American society. The GSS aims to gather data on contemporary American society in order to monitor and explain trends and constants in attitudes, behaviors, and attributes; to examine the structure and functioning of society in general asContinue Reading

Amnesty International Annual Report 2014-2015

This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones. By Salil Shetty, Secretary General at Amnesty International “Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world’s politicians have miserably failed to protect thoseContinue Reading

Human Rights World Report 2015

“World Report 2015 is Human Rights Watch’s 25th annual review of human rights practices around the globe. It summarizes key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide. In his keynote, Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth reflects on a year so tumultuous, “it can seem as if the world isContinue Reading

Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index 2015

“The Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index ranks the performance of 180 countries according to a range of criteria that include media pluralism and independence, respect for the safety and freedom of journalists, and the legislative, institutional and infrastructural environment in which the media operate. Top of the list, as so often, are threeContinue Reading

Libraries After Charlie Hebdo: The Threat of Violence, The Fear of Self-Censorship

Lisa Peet – Library Journal – “Although written texts often evoke strong, sometimes contentious reactions, political cartoons and caricatures can be equally incendiary. According to Barbara Jones, executive director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) of the American Library Association. (ALA), “Cartoons are a particular problem in our office—graphic novels and books with cartoonsContinue Reading

The Public Library: A Photographic Love Letter to Humanity’s Greatest Sanctuary of Knowledge, Freedom, and Democracy

“A library is many things,” E.B. White once wrote in a letter to the children of a little town to inspire them to fall in love with their new library. “But particularly it is a place where books live, and where you can get in touch with other people, and other thoughts, through books… BooksContinue Reading