09/27/2022 – Shannon Oltmann

Date: September 27, 2022

Time: 10:00am

Room: Luddy Hall # 1104

Shannon Oltmann, Associate Professor of Information Science, School of Information Science, College of Communication & Information, University of Kentucky

Topic: Defending Intellectual Freedom

Abstract: Book challenges and bans are on the rise across the US, especially in school and public libraries. Across many different communities, people use similar tactics (down to the same wording) to protest against certain books, often those who have authors or protagonists of color or in the LGBTQ+ community. Legislation has been introduced in many states that threatens libraries’ missions of access to information. Although “intellectual freedom” is a core value of librarianship, it is gravely under threat in the US. This presentation examines the current threats against intellectual freedom, reinforces the centrality of intellectual freedom for libraries, and offers some suggestions for defending this principle.

Bio: Shannon M. Oltmann is an Associate Professor in the School of Information Science at the University
of Kentucky. She obtained her M.I.S. and Ph.D. from Indiana University. Her research interests include information ethics, censorship, intellectual freedom, public libraries, privacy, and qualitative research methods. Oltmann is the past editor of the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy and
Associate Editor of Library Quarterly. She recently published a book, Practicing Intellectual Freedom
in Libraries, and her most recent book, The Fight Against Book Bans: Perspectives from the Field,
will be released in 2023. Oltmann’s work has been funded by the American Library Association and
the Institute of Museum & Library Studies. She has presented her research at numerous academic
conferences. Her work has been published in Library Quarterly, Journal of the Society for Information
Science and Technology, Public Libraries Quarterly, Collection Management, Libri, and Library and
Information Science Research.