ALA Annual 2019

Top Picks for Intellectual Freedom Sessions @ #ALAac19

Whether you are a first-time attendee or someone who regularly attends the American Library Association’s Annual Conference, we are confident you will find a session or two centered on Intellectual Freedom to round out your conference experience. Here are a few of our picks:

Intellectual Freedom 101 is offered Friday June 21st at 2:30 PM at the Marriott Marquis, Georgetown University and promises to be a great introduction to the intellectual freedom activities of ALA and affiliated organizations. Start here if you’d like to learn how you can get involved or if you are a first-time attendee as part of an orientation to ALA’s important work.

Don’t miss Pitfalls of Neutrality: What Does Inclusivity Mean in Libraries on Saturday June 22nd at 9:00 AM in the Washington Convention Center. A diverse group of speakers will share how they have handled challenges ranging from collections, displays, and programming to restrooms and building accessibility. Attendees are encouraged to bring questions so the collective brain can offer strategies to consider when addressing issues in their own libraries. Rookie and veteran attendees alike will benefit from this session as it draws upon the speakers’ personal experiences in a program designed for discussion.

Start your Sunday morning off with Censorship Beyond Books on June 23rd at 10:30 AM at the Washington Convention Center. This session is brought to you by a trio of panelists who have all faced challenges to non-book resources. Tools and resources for surviving similar experiences will be shared and discussion will help attendees gain experience in dealing with these types of issues in their libraries. New librarians will want to check this program out for advice in preparing for challenges of this nature and seasoned librarians will want to attend to learn how facing such a challenge changes your approach to your career.

Next, hustle over to PLA Legal Issues in Public Libraries Forum on Sunday June 23rd at 11:30 AM at the Marriott Marquis. Legal issues common in public libraries ranging from patron privacy and patron behavior to copyright and licensing as well as other liability issues will be covered. This new conference resource aims to serve as an informational session and a neutral space in which issues that may be facing your libraries can be vetted.

Take a lunch break, browse the exhibit hall, but make your last session of the day Are You Going to Tell My Parents?: The Minor’s Right to Privacy in the Library at 4:00 PM in the Washington Convention Center. A minor’s right to privacy and confidentiality can be difficult for school and public librarians to navigate, but this session offers a panel of experts who will explore state and federal laws that impact minors’ privacy. Different approaches and procedures will be presented and privacy resources will be provided for attendees to use in their libraries. Any librarians working with youth might want to consider attending this session as the resources shared would be of great value in their toolkits.

Monday June 24th at 9:00 AM in the Washington Convention Center plan to attend Controversial Speaker Planned for Your Library Event? Things to Consider which features a panel of disinvited authors, public relations experts, and librarians who’ve confronted this issue. The many perspectives represented in this program should aide attendees in developing program policies for their libraries, which makes this a great pick for administrators and library managers.

Whether you make it to one or all of these sessions, we hope you have a wonderful experience, feel equal parts inspired and informed, and keep the conversations going in your home libraries!

People in an audience clapping
Appreciative Audience

Samantha Lumetta, a member of the ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee, is a Children’s Librarian in the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio.


This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: Professionalism and Professional Development.

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