Dealing with Challenges, Misinformation, and Disinformation About Resources for Children and Young Adults

Across the United States, public and school librarians face parents or organized groups who accuse them of sharing content that is obscene, harmful to minors, or child pornography. But a politically-motivated declaration that material is harmful to minors does not make it a reality.

Issues of intellectual freedom in Youth Services are carefully defined in law, and courts have set limits on when terms like “obscene” or “pornographic” can be applied to books and other information resources. In this webinar, library staff can learn how to address these challenges from a First Amendment perspective and how to navigate issues that arise when these misleading claims are spread in a community.

After participating in this event, library workers will:

  • Have a basic understanding of the legal issues that address claims of obscenity, child pornography, or harm to minors and the role of the First Amendment.
  • Have concrete strategies for responding to these accusations and inviting others to support library workers in the community.
  • Understand best practices for addressing challenges to books and library resources.

This webinar is part of the Defending Intellectual Freedom: Facing Challenges and Fighting Back series.

About the Instructors

Theresa Chmara is an attorney in Washington, DC. She also is the General Counsel of the Freedom to Read Foundation. She is the author of Privacy and Confidentiality Issues: A Guide for Libraries and their Lawyers (ALA 2009). She has been a First Amendment lawyer for over thirty years and is a frequent speaker on intellectual freedom issues in libraries. She is a contributing author for the Intellectual Freedom Manual, published by the Office of Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association. She also served as an instructor for the Lawyers for Libraries training seminars and is an instructor for the American Library Association First Amendment and Library Services eCourse.

Martha Hickson has been a librarian at North Hunterdon High School in New Jersey since 2005. Her work has been featured in School Library Journal, Booklist, KnowledgeQuest, and the ALA Intellectual Freedom Blog. Her defense of intellectual freedom has been recognized with awards from the New Jersey Association of School Librarians, the New Jersey Library Association, the American Association of School Librarians, and the National Council of Teachers of English. In June, the American Library Association presented Martha with the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity in recognition of her “energy and bravery in the face of […] persistent and ongoing hostility” while advocating for students’ First Amendment right to read. And in November, the National Coalition Against Censorship presented Martha with the Judith Krug Outstanding Librarian Award.

This event will be hosted in Zoom. Automatic captions will be enabled for this event. This event will be recorded, and registrants will receive access to the recording within a day after the event ends.

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Reproductive Health and Libraries: Navigating the New Information Landscape

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe. V. Wade, librarians in states where abortions are now illegal have faced confusing directives, concern for their jobs, and threats from those who say that libraries, and librarians, are no longer permitted to have and share information related to abortion.

In this timely webinar, our presenters will share practical guidance on the protections librarians have when providing access to information about abortion.

After participating in this event, libraries workers will:

  • Understand how laws addressing abortion access and reproductive health do and do not impact libraries.
  • Gain a basic understanding of how courts have dealt with similar situations in the past.
  • Understand strategies and best practices for responding to threats or potential accusations of aiding and abetting a crime.

This webinar is part of the Defending Intellectual Freedom: Facing Challenges and Fighting Back series.

About the Instructors

Deborah Caldwell-Stone is Director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and Executive Director of the Freedom to Read Foundation. For over twenty years she has worked closely with library professionals and library trustees on a wide range of intellectual freedom issues related to library service in the United States. She has served on the faculty of the ALA-sponsored Lawyers for Libraries and Law for Librarians workshops and is a contributor to the 10th edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual and other publications.

Theresa Chmara is an attorney in Washington, DC. She also is the General Counsel of the Freedom to Read Foundation. She is the author of Privacy and Confidentiality Issues: A Guide for Libraries and their Lawyers (ALA 2009). She has been a First Amendment lawyer for over thirty years and is a frequent speaker on intellectual freedom issues in libraries. She is a contributing author for the Intellectual Freedom Manual, published by the Office of Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association. She also served as an instructor for the Lawyers for Libraries training seminars and is an instructor for the American Library Association First Amendment and Library Services eCourse.

This event will be hosted in Zoom. Automatic captions will be enabled for this event. This event will be recorded, and registrants will receive access to the recording within a day after the event ends.

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Navigating Book Challenges in Rural America

Challenges to books, displays, and other library resources are on the rise in all areas of our country, including rural areas. While it may seem that a “one size fits all” approach can be used in all libraries, it’s important to understand the differences in our communities and consider the best approach when working through a book challenge.

In this new webinar, Heather Hutto and MacKenzie Ledley will share knowledge and perspective from their experience living and working in rural areas. They’ll provide insight into successfully addressing topics of censorship, intellectual freedom, and privacy in small and rural communities.

By participating in this event, libraries workers will learn:

  • How to factor in differences in community location, size, and needs when addressing book challenges.
  • Effective strategies to directly address challenges at school and public libraries.
  • How library board members, trustees, and community members can support libraries and library workers in their mission to serve the information needs of everyone in the community.

This webinar is part of the Defending Intellectual Freedom: Facing Challenges and Fighting Back series.

About the Instructors

During an internship in San Francisco, Heather Hutto noticed several key gaps between the technology and information literacy levels of Bay Area residents compared to those back home in rural Oklahoma. After a decade of service in tribal-rural public schools and libraries in northeastern Oklahoma, she now serves as executive director of a tribal-rural public library in northeastern Oklahoma serving 12,000 people. In this role she tries to bridge digital inclusivity gaps and foster awareness about this, and intersecting issues.

MacKenzie Ledley has served as the Executive Director at the Pulaski County Public Library since 2009. She holds an M.L.S. from Indiana University and believes that any community, including rural communities, can embrace intellectual freedom. MacKenzie has served on a variety of IFRT committees and was a past co-chair of the Legislative Committee for the Indiana Library Federation.

This event will be hosted in Zoom. Automatic captions will be enabled for this event. This event will be recorded, and registrants will receive access to the recording within a day after the event ends.

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