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Organization Information

Freedom to Read Foundation


Stop censorship! If they can tell you what to read, they can tell you what to think. Help us defend librarians facing censorship challenges.

Real Life

The Freedom to Read Foundation was a plaintiff in one of the key First Amendment lawsuits of the latter half of the 20th Century, American Library Association v. United States Department of Justice.In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Communications Decency Act in a unanimous decision.The Court rendered a landmark decision hailed as "the birth certificate of the Internet," holding that speech on the Internet is entitled to the highest level of First Amendment protection, similar to that given to books and newspapers.

An important aspect of the decision is the Court's analysis that the CDA, if allowed to stand, would "reduce the adult population [on the Internet] to reading only what is fit for children."Libraries specifically would have been harmed in their ability to provide information to their patrons.The Freedom to Read Foundation often works on important First Amendment cases which, even if they don't seem at first to touch libraries, inevitably could harm citizens' ability to access a wide range of information freely - the very mission of libraries.

Since that decision, FTRF has helped fight similar restrictive legislation in New Mexico, Michigan, Arizona, Vermont, and Virginia.So far every court decision has vindicated our efforts.