Intellectual Freedom Manual 7th ed.

Ina Fourie (University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa)

Collection Building

ISSN: 0160-4953

Article publication date: 18 April 2008




Fourie, I. (2008), "Intellectual Freedom Manual 7th ed.", Collection Building, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 91-91.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

In a rapidly changing environment librarians face many challenges concerning privacy, censorship and access to information. They need guidelines, policies interpretations and practical advice. These are all thoroughly addressed in the 7th edition of Intellectual Freedom Manual – a publication compiled by the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), with the help of a number of experts such as Beverley Becker, Deborah Caldwell‐Stone, Theresa Chmara, Larra Clark, Judith Krug, Daniel Mach, Candace Morgan, Evelyn Shaevel, Linda Wallace and Don Wood. The OIF is responsible for implementing the intellectual freedom policies of the American Library Association by educating librarians and the public about the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, as well as the Association's basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials.

The Manual is thus not only an authoritative, primary resource for library managers, librarians and policy makers, but can also guide the wider public on the latest policies, etc. Newly amended policies covered in the 7th edition include, for example, access for children and young adults to non‐print materials; access to electronic information services and networks; access to library resources and services regardless of sex, gender or sexual orientation; access to resources and services in the school library media program; exhibit spaces and bulletin boards; free access to libraries for minors; labels and rating systems; and restricted access to library materials.

The book consists of six main parts, each including a number of chapters. These include an overview of intellectual freedom and libraries, the Library Bill of Rights, protecting the freedom to read, intellectual freedom and the law, preparing to preserve and protect intellectual freedom, and working for intellectual freedom. With such an extensive publication (544 pp.) it is difficult to do justice to the full scope of the content in a review. The articles that especially drew my attention were the ones on privacy, confidentiality and coping with law enforcement enquiries, guidelines for developing a library privacy policy, as well as historical information about the Code of Ethics. The Intellectual Freedom Manual also has a companion web site where more articles are made available. An appendix on navigating the OIF web site and a useful glossary is included in this well‐bound publication, which concludes with an extensive, 23‐page index.

The 7th edition of this work is certainly an authoritative, primary resource and guide that belongs on the shelf of all interested parties, especially library managers, librarians and policy makers. I can wholeheartedly recommend it, and at US$52.00 I consider it to be excellent value for money – even for readers outside the USA who face the challenges of securing intellectual freedom.

Related articles