Montana Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee


   This committee's purpose is to create awareness among librarians of their responsibility to promote freedom of access to information in all types of libraries and to assist any library, library worker, library trustee, or friend of the library besieged by individuals or groups attempting to interfere with the right-to-read.


    The committee shall reassure librarians, trustees, and friends of the library that they will receive support from the committee should the principles of the right-to-read be violated.


   The committee shall submit pertinent proposals towards meeting these responsibilities to the MLA Board of Directors and report censorship incidents to the President and the Intellectual Freedom Office of the American Library Association.


    In coordination with the Awards and Honors Committee and in compliance with the Guidelines of Awards and Honors (Appendix 2) of the MLA handbook, this committee may solicit nominations and select recipients for an Intellectual Freedom Award presented at the annual conference.


“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 Bill of rights of the U.S. Constitution


What is intellectual freedom and why is it important?

“Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored.  Intellectual freedom is the basis for our democratic system. We expect our people to be self-governors. But to do so responsibly, our citizenry must be well-informed. Libraries provide the ideas and information, in a variety of formats, to allow people to inform themselves.  Intellectual freedom encompasses the freedom to hold, receive and disseminate ideas.”

-from Intellectual Freedom and Censorship Q & A:


How can I be prepared for censorship challenges?


What should I do if a challenge occurs?


What should we do if a challenge reaches the public hearing stage?


Why is it important to report censorship challenges?


Where can I go for help with challenges?


How can the MLA Intellectual Freedom Committee help?