Paul Sturges

Sturges bcs2016

INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM, LIBRARIES AND DEMOCRACY

Paul Sturges will explore the spectrum of opinion on the idea of intellectual freedom,  first suggesting that it can seen as an essential aspect of human autonomy and liberty, only exceeded in importance only by the right to life. This is the view set out in the American Declaration of Independence (1776), which describes ‘Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ as inalienable rights. He will, however, acknowledge that not all cultures share this view of intellectual freedom, many subordinating it to communal and religious values. These divided perspectives on intellectual freedom make the institutions that foster access to information, rational debate and the sharing of ideas absolutely essential to human existence, and to democracy in particular. Libraries, along with the range of public forums that permit access through oral, print, graphic, broadcast and electronic communication are key contributors to access. The precise nature of the library contribution is easy either to dismiss or exaggerate, but this presentation will set out to offer a reasoned statement of just what can be expected of libraries as institutions of freedom and contributors to democracy.

Publications:
  • Donations to libraries: a problem in International Cooperation’. In: S. Chakraborty and A. K. Das eds. Collaboration in International and Comparative Librarianship. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference, 2014. pp17-27.
  • ‘Research data sharing: developing a stakeholder-driven model for journal policies’. With M. Bamkin, J. Anders, B. Hubbard, A. Hussain, and M. Healey. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST), in publication, 2014.
  • Sturges, P. and Gastinger, A. Libraries, donations and freedom of expression: the case of Scientology. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 46(1), 2014, pp.32-40
  • Sturges, P. and Gastinger A. The information literate brain. In: Kurbanoglu, S. et al eds. Worldwide commonalities and challenges in Information Literacy Research and Practice: ECIL Conference Proceedings. Springer International Publishing, 2013, pp. 31-40.