Register to Learn How to Navigate Challenges In Your Library | Compendium

Library workers have identified a need for education and access to resources that offer support when faced with challenges. To meet that educational need, the Freedom to Read Foundation and ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom will present the following programs to Pennsylvania library workers:  

Navigating the Next Wave of Challenges: Educate, Communicate, De-escalate with Joyce McIntosh and Eric Stroshane
Thursday, September 14, 2023, 10:00 – 11:00 AM / Virtual
Register here
The informational portion of this webinar will be recorded, but the recording will be stopped before the Q&A.

Library staff are now seeing multi-faceted attempts from organized groups, direct challenges to school and public library materials through the proper reconsideration process, attempts to alter the formal process by applying pressure through public comments and social media, and through legislative attempts, to change content and prevent library staff from upholding their policies and doing their jobs. 

The American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom staff will discuss ways librarians throughout the country can address the most current wave of challenges in our schools and public libraries. 

This session will provide attendees with: 

  • An awareness of the changes in how challenges take place; 
  • Tools for working with ALA and Unite Against Book Bans (UABB) staff as well as the community to navigate through these challenges; 
  • Knowledge of where to seek support; 
  • Best practices for creating sound policies, having conversations with library users, seeking resources for support beyond the library, and identifying tools to prepare staff and trustees for scenarios they may experience. 

How to Navigate Book Bans, Meeting Room Challenges, First Amendment Audits and More with Deborah Caldwell-Stone and Theresa Chmara
Tuesday, September 26, 2023, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM / Virtual
Register here
The informational portion of this webinar will be recorded, but the recording will be stopped before the Q&A.

Book bans, meeting room controversies, First Amendment auditors, displays and programming — public libraries and school libraries are addressing a rising number of challenges tied to publicly funded libraries’ responsibilities under the First Amendment and other constitutional provisions. 

This session will provide attendees with:  

  • An introduction to the legal precedents and other laws that impact libraries’ provision of materials and services to their users, especially minors; 
  • An understanding of the rights of library users of all ages; 
  • Suggestions for best practices and policies that preserve users’ intellectual freedom while complying with the law.

About the presenters: 
Joyce McIntosh is the Assistant Program Director for the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF), an organization dedicated to First Amendment education, litigation, and advocacy. She has worked at the intersection of intellectual freedom, communication, and the First Amendment for three decades. Her background and education in journalism and library and information science have led her to work for newspapers, non-profits, and for the last two decades in libraries. She worked in a public library outside of Chicago, IL providing reference, programming, outreach, and assistive technology before joining FTRF.  With FTRF and the American Library Association her work has focused on education about the First Amendment and censorship, and helping librarians navigate challenges in their school and public libraries.

Eric Stroshane has twenty years of experience working in public, special, and academic libraries. He currently works with the Office for Intellectual Freedom, which works to provide education, advocacy, and support in combatting censorship and defending the freedom to read. He is the news editor for the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy, curates a weekly news compilation for ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Blog, and is a former president of the Mountain Plains Library Association. He has delivered training and presentations on intellectual freedom issues for library directors, staff, board members, and the general public nationwide.

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. She has contributed articles on law, policy, and intellectual freedom to American Libraries 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 an instructor for the American Library Association First Amendment and Library Services E-Course. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Julie Moore at 

These programs are made possible by Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Office of Commonwealth Libraries. The views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed do not necessarily represent those of the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services or the Department of Education.