Emily Knox

Associate Professor

PhD, Communication, Information, and Library Studies, Rutgers University

Research focus

Information access, intellectual freedom and censorship, information ethics, information policy, print culture and reading practices.

Honors and Awards

  • Teacher Ranked as Excellent (Fall 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020; Spring 2016, 2017; Summer 2017)
  • 2020-21 University of Illinois Building Pathways for Emerging Leaders at Illinois Program Participant
  • 2019-20 University of Illinois School of Information Sciences Centennial Scholar
  • 2019-20 University of Illinois Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) Faculty Fellow
  • 2015 WISE Instructor of the Year
  • 2015 Illinois Library Association Intellectual Freedom Award


Emily Knox is an associate professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Her book, Book Banning in 21st Century America (Rowman & Littlefield) is the first monograph in the Beta Phi Mu Scholars’ Series. She also recently edited Trigger Warnings: History, Theory Context (Rowman & Littlefield) and co-edited Foundations of Information Ethics (ALA Neal-Schuman). Her most recent book is Foundations of Intellectual Freedom (ALA Neal-Schuman). Emily’s articles have been published in the Library Quarterly, Library and Information Science Research, Open Information Science, and the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy. She is also a member of the Mapping Information Access research team.

She has been interviewed by media outlets such as NPR, The Washington Post, Time, and Slate.

Knox serves on the board of National Coalition Against Censorship and is the editor of the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy.

Knox received her PhD from the doctoral program at the Rutgers University School of Communication & Information. Her master's in library and information science is from the iSchool at Illinois. She also holds a BA in Religious Studies from Smith College and an AM in the same field from The University of Chicago Divinity School.

Office hours

Fall 2022 — On sabbatical
Spring 2022 — Research leave

Publications & Papers

Knox, E.J.M. (2022). Foundations of Intellectual Freedom. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

Knox, E.J.M. (2020). Intellectual freedom and social justice: Tensions between core values in librarianship. Open Information Sciences, 4(1).   doi.org/10.1515/opis-2020-0001  

Burgess, J.T.F. & Knox, E.J.M. (Eds.) (2019). Foundations of Information Ethics. Chicago, IL: American Library Association, London: Facet.

Knox, E.J.M. (2019). Silencing stories: Challenges to diverse books. International Journal for Information, Diversity & Inclusion, 3(2). doi: 10.33137/ijidi.v3i2.32592.

Knox, E.J.M. (2019). Ethics and reference services. In M. Wong and L. Saunders (Eds.), Reference and Information Services (6th ed.) Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited.

Knox, E.J.M., Oltmann, S.M. & Peterson, C. (2019). Designing research using FOI requests in the USA. Kevin Walby (Ed.) Freedom of Information and Social Science Research Design. New York, NY: Routledge.

Knox, E.J.M. (2019). Information access. In Burgess, J.T.F. and Knox, E.J.M (Eds.), Foundations of Information Ethics. (pp. 37-46). Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

Knox, E.J.M. (2015). Book Banning in 21st Century America. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.  

Knox, E.J.M. (Ed.) (2017). Trigger warnings: History, theory, context. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Knox, E.J.M. & Oltmann, S. (2018). Social responsibility, censorship, and the ALA: The 2015 Banned Books Week controversy. The Library Quarterly, 88(1), 5 – 22. 

Knox, E.J.M. (2017). Indoctrination and common sense interpretation of texts: The Tucson Unified School District book banning. Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy, 2(2), 11-23.

Knox, E.J.M. (2014). Society, institutions, and common sense: Themes in the discourse of challengers in 21st century United States. Library & Information Science Research, 36(3-4), 171-178.


Knox, E. & Oltmann, S. (2022, October). What’s so critical about intellectual freedom? #CriticalConversations in LIS. Virtual. University of South Carolina.
Moderator for PEN America/Booklist virtual program “Breaking Bans: A Celebration of Challenged Books” with Nikole Hannah-Jones, Renée Watson Kim Johnson, and Kyle Lukoff (September 21, 2022).

Knox, E. (2022, September). Why Ban Books? Invited lecture. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, IN.
Auerbach, E., Hickson, M., Knox, E., Mock, G., Samuels, C. (2022, September). Amnesty International’s Jailed for Words and Art: Uplifting Critical Voices Fighting Censorship. Virtual panel.
Knox, E. (2022, September). Why Ban Books? The Albion College Richard M. Smith Common Reading Experience Keynote Lecture. Albion, MI.
Knox, E. (2022, August). Understanding Book Challenges. New York University Division of Libraries Days of Learning Keynote.
Knox, E.J.M. (2022, May). Free Speech, the Myth of Neutrality, and Libraries as Intended Safe Spaces. Library Journal and School Library Journal Professional Development Online Workshop & Guest Speaker Program: Equity in Action: Solidarity in Social Justice.
Davis, M., Knox, E., Sass, R.K., Thomas, B. & Chrastka, J. (Moderator). (2022, April). The Battle for Free Expression: Indie Publishers and Libraries in the Fight Against Censorship. Keynote Panel for the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) Publishing University.
Knox, E.J.M. (2022, April). Intellectual Freedom and Social Justice: Tensions between Core Values of Librarianship. Keynote for British Columbia Library Association Annual Conference.
Knox, E.J.M. (2022, April). Intellectual Freedom and Social Justice: Understanding the Discourse of Censorship. 2022 Masha Dexter Lecture on Gender, Sexuality, and Public Policy at Brown University.
Moderator for PEN America/Penguin Random House virtual program “Banned Books: When Books are Threatened, Where Do We Turn?” with Ibram X. Kendi, Nikole Hannah-Jones, and Nic Stone (March 29, 2022).
Knox, E.J.M. (2022, March). Information access and ethics. Lecture for Gates Scholars Community, University of Cambridge, UK.
Presenter with Jarrett Dapier on “When Not to Call the Cops.” Black Caucus of the American Library Association President’s Program (March 22, 2021).
Knox, E.J.M. (2022, March). Why ban books? Keynote at Obscenity! Blasphemy! Treason!: An Interdisciplinary International Conference on Censorship, National Taiwan University.