NEHS’s Intellectual Freedom Challenge (IFC) is now open to sophomore and junior members of NEHS interested in writing an argumentative essay about the use of a potentially controversial text. Educators, including librarians, select texts to teach and recommend to adolescents that some might challenge as inappropriate. While all educators need to be thoughtful about such selections and have clear rationales for the decisions made concerning texts, all too often books are set aside, limited, or challenged because of content. The American Library Association, through its celebration of Banned Book Week each year (September 27- October 3 this year), along with other organizations like National Council of Teachers of English, urge all to push back against censorship attempts.
Over several years, the NEHS Intellectual Freedom Challenge has generated fine writing from members who believe in the power of literature and the “students’ right to read.” The deadline for receipt of the essays is October 5, 2020. Up to twelve writers will each receive $100 and their sponsoring chapters $50.