NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ875903
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jan
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0024-2519
The Public Library as a Public Forum: The (De)Evolution of a Legal Doctrine
Gathegi, John N.
Library Quarterly, v75 n1 p1-19 Jan 2005
When dealing with First Amendment free speech issues in the context of public libraries, courts have merely cited the supposition that constitutional public forum analysis leads to the conclusion that the public library is a limited public forum for the purposes of First Amendment analysis. By focusing narrowly on the issue of whether Internet access in libraries constitutes a public forum, and determining that it does not, the U.S. Supreme Court not only misses an opportunity to refine the concept of the public forum in modern-day terms but also somehow implies that public library activities are different from other speech activities and are subject to the managerial authority of the government. This article makes the argument that a redefinition of the public forum doctrine would bring under its ambit the public library, to join the "traditional" public forums such as streets, sidewalks, and parks--a departure from the current designation of the public library as a limited public forum. This article also examines the extent to which the Internet represents an expansion of the forum, whether public or limited. The argument is structured within the framework of the decision in the case of "United States v. American Library Association."
University of Chicago Press. Journals Division, P.O. Box 37005, Chicago, IL 60637. Tel: 877-705-188; Tel: 773-753-3347; Fax: 877-705-1879; Fax: 773-753-0811; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Media Staff
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: First Amendment