, and campaign
s to bring the policy
, of the American Library Association
Congress Shall Make No Law Respecting an Establishment of Religion, or Prohibiting the Free Exercise Thereof; or Abridging the Freedom of Speech, or of the Press; or the Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble, and To Petition the Government for a Redress of Grievances. - First Amendment of the Constitution
Essentially by arguing that freedom of speech
is meaningless without freedom to hear
and freedom to read
s are based on the Freedom to Read
Statement and run by the Office for Intellectual Freedom
of the American Library Association
The key points of the Freedom to Read Statement are:
- It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity
of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox or unpopular with the majority.
- Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they
make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own
political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or
- It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the
basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
- There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the
reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve
- It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept with any expression the prejudgment
of a label characterizing it or its author as subversive or dangerous.
- It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people's freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose
their own standards or tastes upon the community at large.
- It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read
by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the
exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a ``bad''
book is a good one, the answer to a ``bad'' idea is a good one.
The full text of the statement is at (it's too modern to include as full text):
The statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American
Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the
American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.
Adopted June 25, 1953; revised January 28, 1972, January 16, 1991, July 12, 2000, by the ALA Council
and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee.