Free Expression

“Censorship only protects ignorance.”
-Leanne Katz, National Coalition Against Censorship“If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”
-Supreme Court Justice William Brennan

“If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”
-Robert H. Jackson, US Supreme Court 1934-1946

Freedom of Speech

The preservation of the right to free expression is a priority for MPIBA. When needed, we provide free materials on this topic to our member bookstores and to the public. We strive to be alert to free speech challenges in our region and nationally and to respond to them through appropriate means.

Every day, special interest groups are succeeding in restricting the selection of books and magazines which you and your family may read, the television programs and videos you may watch and the music you may listen to.

Since 1983, challenges to library books and school materials have increased by 168% and state legislatures nationwide have been under pressure to pass new, restrictive laws against booksellers.The guarantee of free speech allows us to open ourselves and our children to the broadest possible range of opinion and experience. Only in a climate of open debate and willingness to listen to varied arguments can our children learn to think independently and to make their own choices.

It is impossible to document and record all prohibitions against free speech and expression, so the resource websites and lists below may not include prohibitions against magazines, newspapers, films, broadcasts, plays, performances, exhibits, or access to electronic resources. Sex, profanity, unsuitable to age group, the occult, and violence remain the primary objections, and most challenges are to materials in schools and school libraries. Frequently, challenges are the result of a desire to protect children. This method of protection contains hazards far greater than the exposure to the “evil” against which the protection is leveled. Individuals may restrict what they themselves or their children read, but they must not call on governmental or public agencies to prevent others from reading or seeing that material.

Resource Websites

Banned Books