Assistant Professor Emily Knox and iSchool alumnus James LaRue (MS '81), director of the American Library Association's (ALA's) Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Freedom to Read Foundation, will serve as panelists for a special forum on March 5 at the University of Oregon. The event is part of the University's 2018 event series, which aims to address challenging, contemporary issues of free expression on college campuses.
Knox and LaRue will be joined by Jody Gray, director of the ALA's Office of Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach. Their panel discussion, Allies Not Enemies: Intellectual Freedom and Social Justice, will examine the complex issues involved at the intersection of values and real-world situations and will explore how educators and library professionals can promote and protect human rights in their communities.
"The perspectives of the panelists will, no doubt, enrich the conversation about freedom of expression," said Adriene Lim, dean of libraries and Philip H. Knight Chair at the University of Oregon. "For librarians, our focus on intellectual freedom and on the Library Bill of Rights has meant that we are on guard against any ideological bias or censorship in our work, even as we also cherish our values of diversity, democracy, and social justice. We know that to achieve intellectual freedom, the voices and histories of people who have been oppressed or marginalized need to be made accessible and preserved in the record."
Knox joined the iSchool faculty in 2012. Her research interests include intellectual freedom and censorship, the intersection of print culture and reading practices, and information ethics and policy. She recently edited Trigger Warnings: History, Theory, Context (2017), published by Rowman & Littlefield. Her previous book, Book Banning in 21st-Century America, also published by Rowman & Littlefield (2015), addresses challenges to materials in public libraries and schools. Knox serves on the boards of the Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T), Freedom to Read Foundation, and National Coalition Against Censorship.
LaRue is the author of The New Inquisition: Understanding and Managing Intellectual Freedom Challenges (Libraries Unlimited, 2007). He was a public library director for many years, as well as a weekly newspaper columnist and cable TV host. He has written, spoken, and consulted on leadership and organizational development, community engagement, and the future of libraries.