Intellectual Freedom, Academic Freedom, and the Academic Librarian

By Jesse D. Mann


Intellectual freedom and academic freedom are related but distinct concepts. As a “nerve cent[er]” of the university, the academic library represents a critical, if not the critical, point of intersection between these two freedoms. This essay explores this intersection and thereby considers how issues of intellectual and academic freedom affect the academic librarian and the university as a whole. It suggests that a basic understanding of the similarities and differences between intellectual freedom and academic freedom is important for academic librarians as they strive to uphold the mission of the library and the mission of the academy.

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