The Freedom to Read Foundation deals with a wide range of issues affecting our freedom of speech and our right to access information. A growing part of our mission is to educate librarians, library patrons, and the general public about issues related to the freedom to read and FTRF's work in protecting that freedom.
Below are some of the issues we are focused on. For more information on the cases and grants referenced here, visit our History of FTRF page.
Statements & Memoranda
Judith Krug Fund Online LIS Education
FTRF and the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom semiannually compile a list of bills in state legislatures and in the U.S. Congress affecting intellectual freedom, free speech, and privacy.
Federal Legislation Updates
Visit the ALA Washington Office for much more on all federal legislation affecting libraries and to learn how you can get involved.
State Legislation Updates: Visit the Office for Intellectual Freedom
For more information on bills in a given state, please consult that state legislature's website.
Challenges to Library Materials: The Freedom to Read Foundation is dedicated to assisting librarians, teachers, and community members when they are confronted with attempts to remove or otherwise censor library materials. FTRF believes that the ability to engage in free inquiry, to consider different ideas and perspectives, and to research for more and better information: this is essential to a healthy democracy. Libraries are dedicated to promoting this ability. FTRF has helped establish legal precedent that enshrines the right to access information across formats and despite the unpopularity of certain ideas.
Key cases/grants: Pico v. Island Trees; Sund v. City of Wichita Falls, TX; Counts v. Cedarville; West Bend, Wisc. citizens grant
Video Games: There have been many efforts over the years to take video games out of the realm of creative works that are protected by the First Amendment. However, the logic of this exception falls flat, as pointed out by many courts - it is the content of the games that is being challenged, and this is what the First Amendment must protect. FTRF has been there every step of the way to make sure that video games get the protection they deserve. Our efforts have been successful!
Key cases/grants: Schwarzenegger v. ESA; American Amusement Machine Association v. Kendrick
Internet Freedom: New media have always led to new attempts at censorship, and the Internet is no different. From our victory in the Communications Decency Act (CDA) to our continuing support of efforts to strike down anti-free speech state legislation ("mini-CDAs") and oppose the filtering of constitutionally protected material, the Freedom to Read Foundation has been in the forefront of keeping the Internet free and open.
Key cases/grants: ALA v. US Dept. of Justice (CDA); ALA v. US (Children's Internet Protection Act); PSINet Inc. v. Chapman
Privacy: Privacy is a key component of the freedom to read. The Freedom to Read Foundation is firm in its belief that the choice of what information you want to access should be your business - not strangers', not corporations', and certainly not the government's.FTRF has engaged in several cases in support of the privacy of library patrons and all of us.
Key cases/grants: John Doe v. Holder;Library Connection v. Gonzales;Forensic Advisors, Inc. v. Matrixx Initiatives, Inc.; Tattered Cover Bookstore, Inc. v. City and County of Denver
Freedom of the Press/Freedom to Publish:The Freedom to Read Foundation works closely with several other organizations to defend the right of the media and publishers and and others to make their works available freely and uncompromised.
Key cases/grants: "Pentagon Papers" Fund grant; New Times, Inc. v. Isaacks; Rachel Ehrenfeld "libel tourism” grant