VLA Intellectual Freedom Update 

The following email was sent to all VLA members on February 1, 2017:

We are sending this email in an attempt to update our members on the efforts the organization has been making to protect Intellectual Freedom throughout Virginia.

Last November, VLA alerted its members to a regulation that had been proposed to the Virginia Department of Education regarding parental notification of sexually explicit materials in classes. At the time, VLA, the Virginia Association of School Librarians, the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom, Virginia's ACLU Chapter, and the National Coalition Against Censorship all wrote letters to the Board of Education to oppose the regulation. On January 26, the Board of Education voted against the regulation: http://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/government-politics/general-assembly/article_8ed03dc4-593b-5f65-84b7-7ba74652aaa9.html. Here is a thank you letter written by VLA President Keith Weimer to Dr. Cynthia A. Cave, Assistant Superintendent, Policy and Communications for the Department of Education.

In December 2016, VLA wrote thank you letters to the Accomack County School Board when they put The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird back on shelves after a parental complaint.

Last year during the 2016 Virginia legislative session, VLA voiced our concerns about HB 516, also known as the "Beloved" bill, which passed, was vetoed by Governor McAuliffe, and escaped having the veto overridden by only one vote. The language in HB516 that referred to "sexually explicit" materials has reappeared during this year's session of the General Assembly in  HB 2191, introduced by The Honorable R. Steven Landes. Earlier this month, Keith Weimer wrote a letter on behalf of the organization to Delegate Landes. You can read that letter here.

We continue to keep our eyes on legislation and policies that could threaten Intellectual Freedom and other values that are outlined in the Library Bill of Rights and we continue to devote ourselves to protecting First Amendment rights throughout the Commonwealth. We thank you for your membership and support.

Lisa R. Varga, MLS
VLA Executive Director
[email protected]