Journal of Intellectual Freedom & Privacy

Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy is the official journal of the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), an office of the American Library Association.

Vol 4, No 3 (2019): Fall


Cover Page

In 2018, a gunman killed 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. One of the commentaries in this issue (see page 3) is written by Tom Twiss, a Pittsburgher and member of the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) of the American Libraries Association (ALA). In his commentary, he describes the way the city of Pittsburgh rallied around the Jewish community with the slogan “stronger than hate” to drown out the voices of hate.

Twiss writes about the problem of including “hate speech,” and groups that promote it, in libraries. The ALA Executive Council first voted to explicitly include “hate groups” in its meeting room policy, but then rescinded that phrasing after much controversy. He depicts the inherent tension between intellectual freedom (which would argue for allowing all points of view, including abhorrent ones), and making libraries welcoming spaces for traditionally marginalized communities (which would foreclose such speech in libraries). Twiss concludes with several recommendations from the SRRT that would strengthen libraries’ commitments to marginalized groups.