Censorship is the suppression of ideas and information that certain persons—individuals, groups or government officials—find objectionable or dangerous. It is no more complicated than someone saying, “Don’t let anyone read this book, or buy that magazine, or view that film, because I object to it! ” Censors try to use the power of the state to impose their view of what is truthful and appropriate, or offensive and objectionable, on everyone else. Censors pressure public institutions, like libraries, to suppress and remove from public access information they judge inappropriate or dangerous, so that no one else has the chance to read or view the material and make up their own minds about it. The censor wants to prejudge materials for everyone.
Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored.
LIBRARY BILL OF RIGHTS
ALA affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas.
I. Library resources are provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people.
II. Libraries provide information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues.
III. Libraries challenge censorship.
IV. Libraries cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
V. A person’s right to use a library will not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
VI. Libraries which make spaces available will do so on an equitable basis.