Intellectual Freedom and Writers by Lynn Lovegreen

In this month of Independence Day, it is relevant to consider our intellectual freedom. It is the “rights of library users to read, seek information, and speak freely as guaranteed by the First Amendment,” according to the American Library Association. If intellectual freedom is too much of a mouthful, you can just say the right to read. It is a core value of the United States, and much of our writing and reading community is based upon it.

In our society, writers can share ideas and show their true, authentic selves. Readers can find books and other publications that help them think critically and grow in empathy. In addition, intellectual freedom leads to a wider variety of published authors and more readers who see themselves represented in what they read. That’s good for all who express themselves in words.

As you know, the right to read isn’t encouraged in all quarters of our nation, or even in our world. The growing number of book bans and book challenges restricts our intellectual freedom. I’ve been grappling with that issue in my current work in progress, a YA novel about book challenges. In my novel, I am exploring how book challenges affect teens, based on what I see in current events.

Some young people are feeling threatened by the removal of books about characters they identify with. Many teens are speaking out about their freedom to read what they choose. They want access to books that show diverse characters, or that discuss concepts or situations that are pertinent to their lives. Adults who want to choose for them, who don’t understand the value of intellectual freedom, stand in their way.

I’m a big believer in hope and happy endings, so in my current WIP, the teens win. They get back their right to intellectual freedom, and their library keeps the books on the shelves in the end, But they can’t do it on their own—it takes the community working with the teens to make that happen.

So, what does that have to do with you, dear reader? Maybe you don’t write for young adults, or your current work has nothing to do with queer or BIPOC characters or other targeted content. Why should you care?

You should care because intellectual freedom lets you choose what you read and write. It also allows kids to read what they need to thrive, and maybe to write books of their own one day. It allows libraries to serve all their patrons, not just ones that agree with certain politicians. That’s pretty cool.

Do you want to help our community of writers and readers by supporting libraries and others who work to preserve intellectual freedom? Here are a couple resources for you:

Read more about the American Library Association’s activities and information about Intellectual Freedom at their webpage:

Learn more about Authors Against Book Bans, and sign up to join the new Alaska chapter, by checking out their website:

And thanks for reading this. Let’s celebrate the right to read!




Lynn Lovegreen is a longtime Alaskan. After twenty years in the classroom, she retired to make more time for writing. She enjoys her friends and family, reading, and volunteering for her local library. Her young adult historical fiction is set in Alaska, a great place for drama, romance, and independent characters. See her website at

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Yes, I would like to receive emails from 49 Writers, Inc.. Sign me up!

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: 49 Writers, Inc.. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Scroll to Top