Informal

Library Wars

Declaration of Library Freedom

 

  1. Libraries have the right to gather materials freely.
  2. Libraries have the right to make materials freely available.
  3. Libraries protect the privacy of their users.
  4. Libraries oppose all censorship.

 

When the freedom of the library is violated, we librarians will unite and fight to the end to protect its freedom.

 

In Japan, these are the main points of a document that guides policy-making for libraries. Hiro Arikawa has taken these guidelines and created a dystopian future where they were made into laws to counteract a law that gives the government censorship powers that are unheard of in a democracy. Library Wars is the first book and the overall title for a four-book series by Hiro Arikawa. In this future, the Media Improvement Act was passed to allow the Media Improvement Committee, through the Special Improvement Agency to seize and destroy material that contain derogatory, discriminatory and forbidden speech. The constitution of Japan, of course protects a citizen’s right to freedom of expression but this law managed to slip through a loophole. Citizens are still free to express themselves. The material containing forbidden and taboo words are just not allowed to be distributed to the public. This law is vigorously enforced.

As one of the libraries’ duties is to oppose censorship, even ex post facto censorship, a counter law was passed that allowed the libraries to retain its duty to gather materials regardless of obstruction by the Special Improvement Agency. In the book, as the Special Improvement Agency and its supporters turned to weapons to prevent the distribution of forbidden materials, the Library Force was created to combat them. The series follows the protagonist, Iku Kasahara as she moves up the ranks in the Library Force.

This series is not yet licensed in English at least for the novels. There is a manga series which has been translated into English and is published by Viz. There is also an anime series with a film as well as a live-action film.

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