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Office for Intellectual Freedom | The American Library Association Archives

Name: Office for Intellectual Freedom
Variant Name: OIF


Historical Note:

In December 1967, the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) was established to provide ALA with a permanent headquarters to coordinate the association's intellectual freedom activities and to provide continuity for the total program (1). The OIF's major concern is to educate librarians and the general public on the importance of intellectual freedom as it relates to the individual, the institution, and the functioning of our society, thereby allowing the Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) to concentrate on developing policy (2). The goal of the OIF is to encourage and protect the librarian's commitment to the principles of intellectual freedom, both in pursuit of professional responsibilities and in personal life (3).

Serving as the administrative arm of the IFC, the OIF is responsible for the implementation of ALA policies on intellectual freedom, as set forth in the Library Bill of Rights and its supporting documents. Its functions include:

1. Distribution of materials and information, including advice and consultation to librarians concerning potential or actual confrontations with censorship problems, and administration of the Program in Support of the Library Bill of Rights; (4)

2. Preparing regular and special publication, including the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, a monthly column in American Libraries, the OIF Memorandum, The Intellectual Freedom Manual, The Freedom to Read Foundation News, and an annual bibliography, Librarians, Censorship, and Intellectual Freedom;

3. Maintaining the permanent and traveling OIF exhibits; (5)

4. Supervising liason with the Freedom to Read Foundation, the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund, serving as liaison to the IFC, coordinating activities of state intellectual freedom committees, and cooperating with organizations whose purposes are related to intellectual freedom; (6)

5. Administering the Emergency Employment Network, a network of libraries which offers interim employment to librarians who suffer loss of employment due to intellectual freedom policies (7).

Sources:

1. OIF, ALA, Intellectual Freedom Manual, (Chicago, 1974), p. xix.

2. Ibid., p. xx

3. Ibid., p. xix.

4. ALA Bulletin, February 1968, p. 123.

5. American Libraries, 1971 2:2, p. 352-353.

6. ALA Handbook of Organizations, 1975-76, p. 65.

7. American Libraries, 1971 2:2, p. 353.






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