Practicing Intellectual Freedom in Libraries

by Shannon M. Oltmann


A solid introduction to and analysis of a core value of American librarianship.

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August 2019

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 148
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Management and Administration/Intellectual Freedom and Censorship
  Librarianship: Philosophy, Values, and Issues/LIS Profession
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All librarians and library and information science scholars can benefit from learning more about intellectual freedom. This book relies on research and practical real-world scenarios to conceptualize and contextualize it.

Practicing Intellectual Freedom in Libraries is helpful for a wide range of people, from those only starting to learn about intellectual freedom to those more well-versed in the subject. For novices, it offers a solid introduction to intellectual freedom, grounded theoretically and empirically; for more experienced scholars and librarians, it provides a uniquely comprehensive analysis of intellectual freedom.

Intellectual freedom is important for librarians because it is a foundation of the profession and is truly central to librarianship in the United States. Situating intellectual freedom within freedom of speech theories, it explains the legal and theoretical foundations for contemporary understandings of intellectual freedom within library science. Additionally, it depicts the importance of community to implementing intellectual freedom and exemplifies this importance in a discussion of actual library practices. Real-world scenarios provide a timely look at intellectual freedom in context, discussing internet filtering, collection development and weeding, meeting rooms and exhibit spaces, programming, and fake news and misinformation.


  • Learn to apply intellectual freedom to your librarianship
  • Develop a deeper understanding of the legal and theoretical bases for intellectual freedom in the United States
  • Understand the theoretical and empirical foundations of intellectual freedom
  • Grasp how an institution's community affects the interpretation and application of intellectual freedom
Author Info

Shannon M. Oltmann is assistant professor in the School of Information Science at the University of Kentucky. She obtained her PhD in information science from Indiana University-Bloomington. Her research interests include censorship, intellectual freedom, information policy, public libraries, privacy, and qualitative research methods. She has presented her research at many academic conferences, and her work has been published in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Library Quarterly, Public Libraries Quarterly, Collection Management, Libri, and Library and Information Science Research.

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Protecting Patron Privacy cover imagePublic Library Collections in the Balance cover imageProtecting Intellectual Freedom and Privacy in Your School Library cover image
What You Need to Know about Privacy Law cover imageLibraries in the Information Age cover imageRethinking Information Work cover image

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