Emily Knox

Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Programs

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

  • 2019-2020 Illinois School of Information Sciences Centennial Scholar
  • Teacher Ranked as Excellent (Fall 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018; Spring 2016, 2017; Summer 2017)
  • 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). Her articles have been published in the Library Quarterly, Library and Information Science Research, and the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy.

Knox serves on the boards of Beta Phi Mu and the National Coalition Against Censorship.

Her research interests include information access, intellectual freedom and censorship, information ethics, information policy, and the intersection of print culture and reading practices. She is also a member of the Mapping Information Access research team.

She 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

Office hours are online or in person; Wednesdays 11:00-11:50 a.m.

Publications & Papers

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.J.M. (2014). Intellectual freedom and the agnostic-postmodernist view of reading effects. Library Trends, 63(1), 11-26.

Knox, E.J.M. (2014). The books will still be in the library: Narrow definitions of censorship in the discourse of challengers. Library Trends, 62(4), 740-749.


Dapier, J., Flanagan, N., Knox, E. & Ward, E. (2019, June) Confronting White Nationalism in Libraries: A Panel Discussion. American Library Association, Washington, DC.

Kreib, D. & Knox, E. (2018, October) Censorship: Looking in the Mirror – Part 2. Annual Conference of the Illinois Library Association, Peoria, IL.

Knox, E.J.M. (2018, October). Intellectual Freedom in the Age of Trigger Warnings. Invited pre-conference program. Iowa Library Association, Cedar Rapids, IA. 

Knox, E.J.M. (2018, April). Trigger Warnings. Invited talk. University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. 

Knox, E.J.M. (2018, April). Trigger Warnings. Invited talk. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL. 

Knox, E.J.M. et al. (2018, March). Allies Not Enemies: Intellectual Freedom and Social Justice. Invited panelist with J. Gray and J. La Rue. University of Oregon Knight Library. Eugene, OR.

Knox, E.J.M. et al. (2018, February). Are Libraries Neutral? Have They Ever Been? Should They Be? Debate with C. Bourg, E. Drabinski, E.C. Knowles, D. Lankes, J. LaRue, K. de la Pena McCook, K. Watson. ALA Midwinter President’s Program. Denver, CO.

Mattson, R., Knox, E. Paris, B. & Laster, S. (2017, October). Government Records and Data Transparency in the Digital Age: Describing the Problem, Imagining Solutions. Digital Library Federation Forum, Pittsburgh, PA.

Krieb, D., Knox, E., & Barnes, R. (2017, October). Censorship: Looking in the Mirror. Annual Conference of the Illinois Library Association, Tinley Park, IL.

Knox, E.J.M. (2016, November). Understanding book challenges. Annual Conference of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), Atlanta, GA. 

Knox, E.J.M. (2016, July). This book is inappropriate: Language, order, and reading.  Paper presented Annual Conference of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing (SHARP), Paris, France.

Knox, E.J.M. (2016, June). "Dirty" materials out of place: Inappropriate books and social classification. Paper at the Annual Conference of the American Library Association (ALA), Library History Roundtable, Orlando, FL.

Knox, E.J.M. (2016, January). Fundamentals of information ethics. Presented on co-organized   panel: Burgess, J., Knox, E., Mon, L., Perry, H.B., Ross, J.M., & Steele, J. Radical change and ethical practice in the LIS classroom. Annual Conference of the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), Boston, MA.