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PTPL Workshop

  • 18 May 2023
  • 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Zoom
  • 50


  • Registration deadline: May 15

Registration is closed

What’s in YOUR Policy?

Protecting the Freedom to Read through Materials Management

Date: Thursday, May 18, 2023

Time: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Presenters: Shari Henry, Urban Libraries Council and Lisa Varga, Virginia Library Association

ALA recently released new data documenting 1,269 demands to censor books and resources in 2022, “the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago.” We are living in troubling times and serving in critical roles that summon us to a renewed fervor in protecting and preserving the First Amendment freedoms for our patrons, communities, and America.

This all-day workshop addresses the importance of the roles materials management professionals play in protecting the freedom to read. The presenters will provide a national scan of the increasing calls for book banning and other threats to intellectual freedom, provide a history of the censorship movement, go over the legal and ethical protections we currently enjoy, and address materials management policies, including the need to pay special attention to inclusion in purchasing and cataloging processes.

Afternoon breakout sessions will give participants a chance to focus on areas of particular interest and communicate in smaller groups. Sharing and workshopping materials management policies will provide an opportunity for all to learn from one another and share best practices.

Key objectives:

  • To have a deeper understanding of the history of censorship movements and what we can learn from the past.
  • To increase knowledge about how Supreme Court cases and state codes protect an individual’s right to read, and address the library’s role as a cornerstone of democracy and current trends changing laws.
  • To be prepared to speak with anyone, and grow the ability to interact with constituents across political lines.
  • To cultivate a better understanding of the importance of internal policies and how they should be conveyed to staff and the community, and what to do when they are challenged.

Target audience: Technical service and collections librarians, librarians, all library staff; supporters of libraries and free speech who are concerned and would like to learn more.

Presenter Information:

Shari Henry has worked in libraries for over 15 years and is currently serving as Urban Library Council’s Director of Democracy and Community Impact. Prior to ULC, she was director for Roanoke County, Materials Management Division Chief for Arlington County, and worked in various positions for Appomattox Regional Library System and Chesterfield County. Before her library career, Shari worked in community engagement and outreach in nonprofits and is a published writer. Shari is driven by the desire to impact the community for good by connecting resources to people, and by her undying belief that libraries are fundamental to healthy democracies. She has served as VLA’s 2nd Vice President and chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee and Advocacy Task Force. She holds an MLS from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

Lisa Varga is the Executive Director of the Virginia Library Association, a chapter of the American Library Association (ALA). She is a member of the initial cohort of the ALA Policy Corps and has served on the ALA Chapter Relations Committee. She is a member of the Virginia Society of Association Executives and has presented a variety of sessions at conferences and webinars about intellectual freedom and association management. She has her master’s degree in library science from Rutgers University.

Please be aware that the morning session of this workshop will be recorded.

All participants must adhere to our Code of conduct policy in order to attend this event.

For information regarding our cancellation/refund policy, please see our Refund policy.

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