Libraries and Intellectual Freedom: A Bibliography

General and Primary Sources:

  1. H.R. 3162 USA Patriot Act, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Online (March 27, 2007) Available
  2. “Section 215 FAQ,” ACLU website, 10/24/2002, Online (March 26, 2007) Available
  3. “The USA Patriot Act in the Library,” American Library Association, Intellectual Freedom Issues. Online (March 27, 2007) Available
  4. “Resolution Reaffirming the Principles of Intellectual Freedom in the Aftermath of Terrorist Attacks,” American Library Association, January 23, 2002. Online (March 29, 2007) Available
  5. “Resolution on the USA Patriot Act and Related Measures That Infringe on the Rights of Library Users,” American Library Association, January 29, 2003. Online (March 29, 2007) Available
  6. “2003 Invasion of Iraq,” Wikipedia. Online (March 29, 2003). Available


Burress, Lee. Battle of the Books: Literary Censorship in the Public Schools, 1950-1985, Metuchen, N.J., Scarecrow Press, 1989.

An excellent book that provides practical explanations of censorship problems. It examines such issues as who the censors are, what their objections are, as well as what typically happens in a school censorship situation. The appendix lists hundreds of titles that have been challenged over the years.

Cole, David, Dempsey, James X. Terrorism and the constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security, New York : New Press, 2006.

Traces the history of government intrusions on Constitutional rights in response to threats from abroad, and warns that a society in which civil liberties are sacrificed in the name of national security is in fact less secure than one in which they are upheld. Includes a discussion of domestic spying, preventive detention, court challenges to post-9/11 abuses, and implementation of the Patriot Act.

Foerstel, Herbert N. Refuge of a Soundrel: The Patriot Act in Libraries, Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2004.

Essential for anyone concerned with American civil liberties. It succinctly details the latest effort by the U.S. government to undermine the rights of Americans to free expression and privacy, with a particular focus on libraries and librarians. Foerstel analyzes all aspects of the USA Patriot Act directly affecting libraries and offers advice on what to do if your library is approached by law enforcement under authority of Section 215.

Knuth, Rebecca. Burning Books and Leveling Libraries: Extremist Violence and Cultural Destruction, Westport, CT: Praeger, 2006

Knuth looks at the broad problem of extremists’ attacks on intellectual heritage committed in the name of political, religious, or social causes. She eports on the destruction of libraries and books by extremists around the world during the 20th century and investigates some of the complex motivations behind these violent acts. The book concludes with a discussion of the events in Iraq in 2003, and the responsibility of American war strategists for the widespread pillaging that ensued after the toppling of Saddam Hussein. NB – Although this is a generaly good overview, the section on the Nazis and the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft is a bit dodgy.

Robbins, Louise S. Censorship and the American Library: The American Library Association’s Response to Threats to Intellectual Freedom, 1939-1969, Westport, CT, Greenwood Press, 1996.

This book chronicles the resistance to censorship by the library profession over thirty years. From the adoption of the 1939 Library’s Bill of Rights to the 1969 development of the Freedom to Read Foundation, it identifies threats to intellectual freedom and traces the ALA’s response to those threats. Much of the information comes from the American Library Association Bulletin, Wilson Library Bulletin, and Library Journal. It also draws on primary archival sources, state library journals, library school bulletins, and interviews.

Robbins, Louise S. The Dismissal of Miss Ruth Brown: Civil Rights, Censorship, and the American Library. Norman OK, University of Oklahoma Press; 2001.

An excellent contribution to library history and the values of librarianship, this book shows how patriotism, loyalty, and the threat of communism has been used to foster racist and sexist agendas and practices. This is particularly relevant today, when differences of race, gender, class, and national origin are feared, and as library materials are challenged on the basis of such fears. The story concerns Ruth Brown, who was dismissed from her job as librarian at the Bartlesville Public Library, OK in 1950 – a position she had held for 30 years. Her dismissal was supposedly because she had circulated magazines such as the Nation, New Republic, and Soviet Russia Today – seen as subversive in the period of the Cold War red scare. Many believed, however, that the real reason for her firing was because of her efforts to promote racial equality.

Van Bergen, Jennifer. The Twilight of Democracy: the Bush Plan for America, Monroe, Me. : Common Courage Press, 2005.

Jennifer Van Bergen dissects the signs of something gone terribly wrong. A massive superstructure is being constructed, whose shape can be discerned by the 2000 election, the enactment of the Patriot Act, the detentions at Guantanamo, the invasion of Iraq, the withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, the promotion of the FTAA, the eradication of environmental protections, and a policy of increasing secrecy.

Print Articles: (in chronological order)

  1. Alvarez, Lizette. “After the Attacks: Intelligence. Spying on Terrorists and Thwarting Them Gains New Urgency,” New York Times, September 14, 2001, Pg. A. 17
  2. Glaberson, William. “Government Has Power to Curb Some Freedoms,” New York Times, September 19, 2001. pg. B.7
  3. “Bill Greatly Expanding Surveillance Power in Terrorism Fight Clears the Senate,” Toner, Robin and. Lewis, Neil. New York Times. Oct 12, 2001. B.11
  4. Rogers, Michael and Oder, Norman. “Privacy Questions Raised in Aftermath of Terror Attacks,” Library Journal. October 15, 2001. p. 14.
  5. “Feds Start to Pull Net Information,” Library Journal. November 15, 2001. p. 16.
  6. Rogers, Michael and Oder, Norman. “Libraries, Universities Meet with Lawyers on Patriot Act,” Library Journal. January, 2002. p. 16.
  7. Hickey, Neil, “Access Denied.” Columbia Journalism Review (January / February 2002) : 26-31.
  8. Flanders, Laura. “Librarians Under Siege,” The Nation. August 5/12, 2002. p. 42-44.
  9. Minow, Mary. “The USA Patriot Act,” Library Journal. October 1, 2002. p. 52-55.
  10. Clymer, Adam.Librarians Get Advice on Handling Government Requests for Information on Readers,” New York Times, December 12, 2002, A. 30
  11. Kasindorf, Martin. “FBI’s reading list worries librarians,” USA Today. December 17, 2002. 3A
  12. Sanders, Bernie. “The Patriot Act’s Threat to Libraries,” American Libraries. February, 2003. p. 32
  13. Rogers, Michael. “For Libraries, It’s Mostly Quiet on the Middle East Info Front,” Library Journal, May 1, 2003, pp. 16-17.
  14. “Ashcroft Mocks Librarians in Patriot Act Defense,” American Libraries, November, 2003, pp. 10-12.
  15. Dority, Barbara. “Your Every Move,” The Humanist, January / February 2004. p. 14-19.
  16. Rawlinson, Nora and Brown, Jennifer. “Librarians Weather the Heat,” Publisher’s Weekly. July 5, 2004. p. 9.
  17. “Libraries Nix Flicks as Patrons Cry Partisanship,” American Libraries. December, 2004. p. 18.
  18. Wheeler, Maurice B. The Politics of Access: Libraries and the Fight for Civil Liberties in Post- 9/11 America. Radical History Review, 93. (Fall, 2005). 79-95.
  19. “A Court Fight to Keep a Secret That’s Long Been Revealed,” Alison Leigh Cowan. New York Times. November 18, 2005. p. B.1
  20. “Librarian Is Still John Doe, Despite Patriot Act Revision,” Alison Leigh Cowan. New York Times: March 21, 2006. p. B.3
  21. “Librarians Win As U.S. Relents On Secrecy Law,” Anahad O’Connor. New York Times. April 13, 2006. p. B.1
  22. “Four Librarians Finally Break Silence in Records Case,” Alison Leigh Cowan. New York Times. May 31, 2006. p. B.3
  23. “U.S. Ends a Yearlong Effort to Obtain Library Records Amid Secrecy in Connecticut,” Alison Leigh Cowan. New York Times .June 27, 2006. p. B.6

Electronic Resources: (in chronological order)

  1. Joan C. Durrance, Karen Pettigrew, Michael Jourdan, Karen Scheuerer. “Libraries and Civil Society,” in Libraries: The Cornerstone of Democracy, Nancy Kranich, Chicago: American Library Association, 2001. Online. Available
  2. “Vermont Librarians Convince Congressman to Defend Reader Privacy,” American Libraries, December 23, 2002. Online (April 2, 2007). Available
  3. “Resolution on the USA Patriot Act and Related Measures That Infringe on the Rights of Library Users,” American Library Association, January 29, 2003. Online (February 28, 2007) Available
  4. “Santa Fe Police Detain Library Patron Over Chat-Room Visit,” American Libraries, February 24, 2003. Online (April 2, 2007). Available
  5. “Bill to Exempt Libraries from Patriot Act Introduced,” American Libraries, March 10, 2003. Online (April 2, 2007). Available
  6. “Santa Cruz PL Posts Signs Warning of Patriot Act Spying,” American Libraries, March 17, 2003. Online (April 2, 2007). Available
  7. “ACLU and California Library Association Launch Anti–Patriot Act Campaign,” American Libraries Online, January 23, 2004. Online (February 28, 2007) Available
  8. “Small Town Library Takes On The Feds,” website. August 5, 2004. Online (April 14, 2007) Available
  9. “Librarians Divided Over Patriot Act Compliance,” America“Libraries Nix Flicks as Patrons Cry Partisanship,” American Libraries. December, 2004. Online (April 2, 2007) Available
  10. “ACLU Says Excessive Secrecy Surrounds Controversial Patriot Act; Calls on Senate Intelligence Committee to Demand Better Disclosure,” ACLU website. 4/27/2005. (January 28, 2007). Available
  11. ACLU Calls For Fixes to Surveillance Law Weakened By the Patriot Act, Says Congress Must Reinstate Safeguards Against Abuse,” ACLU website. 4/28/2005. (January 28, 2007). Available
  12. “New Spin on Patriot Act “Library Provision” Talking in Circles, ACLU Says,” ACLU website, 4/28/2005. (January 28, 2007). Available
  13. “Senate Judiciary Committee Examines Patriot Act, ACLU Calls On Congress to Place Safeguards on Act’s Most Extreme Provisions.” ACLU website. 5/10/2005. (January 28, 2007). Available
  14. “ACLU and California Library Association Launch Anti–Patriot Act Campaign,” American Libraries Online, January 23, 2004. Online (February 28, 2007) Available
  15. Barton Gellman, “The FBI’s Secret Scrutiny,”, November 6, 2005. Online (February 28, 2007) Available
  16. Shaun Waterman, “National-Security Letter to Library Group Dropped,” The Washington Times, June 27, 2006. Online (February 28, 2007) Available
  17. “A series of Tubes,” The Daily Show with John Stuart, July 12, 2006. YouTube, March 20, 2007. Online (April 22, 2007) Available
  18. Liz Ruskin “Internet ‘Tubes’ Speech Turns Spotlight, Ridicule onto Sen. Stevens,” McClatchy Newspapers, July 15, 2006. New Center. Online (April 22, 2007) Available
  19. “Three States and Feds Pursue Social Networking Controls,” American Libraries, February 16, 2007. Online (April 22, 2007) Available
  20. “FBI Misused Patriot Act, Justice Department Audit Says,” American Libraries, March 9, 2007. Online (April 14, 2007) Available
  21. “National Security Letters Misused,” Don Wood, Library 2.0 blog. March 12, 2007. Online (April 14, 2007) Available
  22. “Librarian Who Challenged NSLs Urges Congress to Fix Patriot Act.” ACLU website, April 11, 2007. Online. (April 14, 2007) Available
  23. “McConnell seeks to boost U.S. spy powers,” Katherine Shrader, AP. Yahoo News, April 13, 2007. Online (April 14, 2007) Available
  24. “ACLU: Congress Must Reject Administration’s Call for FISA’s ‘Modernization’,” ACLU website, April 13, 2007. Online. (April 14, 2007) Available
  25. “Senator Revises Web Monitoring Bill,” American Libraries, April 20, 2007. Online (April 22, 2007) Available
  26. James Madison to W.T. Barry. Writings 9:103-9. The Founders’ Constitution, Epilogue: Securing the Republic. Online (April 23, 2007) Available


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: