ALA Midwinter 2018

ALA Midwinter Highlights

Mid-Winter Roundup 2018 

At a snowy Midwinter Conference in Denver, intellectual freedom work occurred in small group sessions, cross-committee task force meetings and on the big stage where the question of library neutrality was ardently debated.  Here’s a quick rundown of some of the intellectual freedom highlights: 

  • Take a look at the new Selection & Reconsideration Policy Toolkit for Public, School and Academic Libraries.  It’s fantastic!  The best defense to challenges is well-crafted policy. Available online and coming soon in print to the ALA store. Selection Policy Toolkit


  •  Sorry you missed the President’s panel discussion, “Are Libraries Neutral?  Have They Ever Been?  Should They Be?”  You can read all about it here.   


  •  Reminder:  Reporting challenges is a professional responsibility.  Don’t keep it to yourself!  The Office of Intellectual Freedom can help.  This responsibility is based on Article 3 of the Library Bill of Rights, which states that “Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.”  Report Challenges 


  • Concerned about materials in your collection that depict historically marginalized groups in outdated ways?  Balance your collection with the addition of great, new materials like these titles recently honored by the American Indian Library Association (AILA): AILA Awards 


  • Need additional support when you tell parents that it is OK – even good – for their children to read comics and graphic novels?  Get a copy of Panel Power, published by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.   


  • Consider joining the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF)! The FTRF defends the First Amendment, protects the right to read (including opposing restrictions on access to information and the right to free expression) and protects the library profession by helping to ensure that libraries continue to provide access to a diversity of ideas and information.  They do this through litigation, education, advocacy, awareness, and legislation. Join FTRF 


  • Theresa Chmara, General Counsel for FTRF, summarized some of the recent and pending court cases that the FTRF has joined in support of the First Amendment.  Issues include students’ rights to receive information, privacy, the right to freely associate, and journalists’ rights to record police activity. You can find case details on the FTRF website.  FTRF Cases  First Amendment issues on the horizon include: challenges to library databases; net neutrality;  proposed legislation prohibiting the discussion of gender identity in schools, and library mandates to not display LGBTQ materials.   

 Betsy Boyce Brainerd, Co-Chair of the ALSC IFC, is an Early Literacy Librarian for the Arapahoe Libraries in Centennial, CO.  




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