This research project examined the beliefs and actions of US midwestern librarians concerning intellectual freedom and collection development. The results are presented in two complementary articles; this first article provides some background and the results pertaining to intellectual freedom, whereas the second article will focus on the results for collection development questions and conclude with a broader discussion. The data were obtained through an extensive survey with a 21.37% response rate. In general, high levels of support for intellectual freedom were found across most respondents and across multiple questions. Respondents with an MLS degree were more likely to be in alignment with ALA stances and to support intellectual freedom. Despite anecdotal suggestions that the political leaning of a community may influence support for intellectual freedom, that was not found in this survey. Finally, nearly 40% of respondents indicated tension between their personal beliefs and professional stances with regard to intellectual freedom.

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Published in The Library Quarterly, v. 89, no. 1, p. 2-15.

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