Defending Intellectual Freedom In Your Community

Defending intellectual freedom is crucial because it allows individuals to express their ideas, thoughts, and beliefs without fear of censorship or persecution. It fosters a diverse and inclusive community where different perspectives can be shared and debated, leading to innovation and progress. Without intellectual freedom, society risks losing its ability to learn and grow, stifling creativity and critical thinking.

What You Can Do

You can defend intellectual freedom in your community by speaking out against censorship and advocating for free expression. You can also support organizations that promote intellectual freedom and engage in respectful dialogue with those who hold different viewpoints.
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Common Scenarios & Resources

Participate In Local Conversations Around Intellectual Freedom

Attend local school board meetings and other public meetings of elected officials. Speak up or write letters to decision-makers advocating for policies and procedures that support and sustain intellectual freedom in your school and community. Use our talking points and sample letters to get started.

Relevant Resources

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Be Part of Your Community’s Organizations

Join your local public library Board of Trustees or run for your school’s Board of Education, or consider running for elected office. Libraries need support at all levels to continue their work in ensuring intellectual freedom for all users.

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Resource List

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Contact Your NYS Legislators

Given the importance of intellectual freedom and free speech to our democracy, legislators can play a key role via the bills they support or sponsor, including bills related to privacy and education that may reflect intellectual freedom values. You can find your legislator using the link below.

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Write To Your School Officials

Writing letters to school districts about censorship is essential as it allows concerned individuals to voice their objections, defend intellectual freedom, and protect students’ access to diverse ideas. Such letters raise awareness, hold officials accountable, and contribute to maintaining an open and inclusive learning environment for all students. Use the link below for a sample letter template you can use.

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Write To Your Local News Outlet

Write an opinion or letter to the editor to your local news outlet on the importance of defending intellectual freedom in your communities. You can get started by personalizing one of our sample letters linked below.

Contact Us

Free For All: New Yorkers for Intellectual Freedom is dedicated to ensuring library workers and librarians are supported and prepared for any intellectual freedom challenges they may experience.

We want to hear from you! Please use the form to contact us and someone from the FFANY team will get back to you.

*These numbers are from the American Library Association in their 2023 National Report