November 21, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

ALA Webinars to Help Teachers—and Parents—Understand Censorship

While most librarians are familiar with the issues around intellectual freedom and a student’s right to read, what about their colleagues? Helping students understand censorship is one goal of Banned Books Week (BBW), set this year for September 27 to October 3. But helping educate teachers, administrators and parents is key, too.

Enter the American Library Association (ALA), which is offering two digital lessons to help librarians broach the topic of censorship with colleagues.

The first webinar, “Angry and Alarmed,” acknowledges the concerns of parents, giving librarians and teachers tools to both listen to caregivers, while also helping them understand the importance of Banned Books Week. Set for August 19 at 2 pm ET, author, retired school librarian, and SLJ columnist Pat Scales, and writer and former library director Jamie LaRue will guide educators toward shifting a defensive conversation to one that’s, hopefully, more empathetic.

Another ALA program, Before the Mud Flies, on September 1 at 4 pm ET, promises to provide talking points, agenda items and handouts for librarians’ teacher peers, so educators can learn how to best explain the importance of Banned Books Week to other school stakeholders. Nanette Perez, program officer for ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, will lead the hour-long presentation.

Registration for each webinar is $20 for ALA members, $25 for nonmembers, and $120 for groups of six or more. Spots are limited, so attendees must register before midnight CT the night before the events, and for those who can’t attend live, recording options are available for those who have signed up in advance.