Advocating for Intellectual Freedom: Beyond "Banned Books Week"

Quote: "if not me, who? if not now, when?"NOTE: This past webinar has now been archived. Access to the recording can be purchased; please see How to Register below for more details.

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and highlighting the value of free and open access to information. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. 

But we don't have to wait for this one week! We can advocate for these principles

By instilling knowledge of First Amendment rights to library staff, boards, and the community, you can build a strong foundation of support and library lovers. 

This archived webinar was originally presented October 13, 2015

Running time: 60 minutes

Learning Outcomes

This webinar is going to demonstrate:

  • Resources for training staff
  • Calendar of ideas for continuous advocacy
  • Creative programming ideas
  • Helpful tips for educating boards and administration

Who Should Attend

  • Librarians; public, K-12 school, academic
  • Administration: directors, systems, superintendents, principals
  • Library Boards and School Boards
  • Organizations concerned with the First Amendment and Intellectual Freedom
  • State Library Associations and Intellectual Freedom Committee members


photo of Susan BrownSusan Brown took her first library job to earn beer money while in college, never thinking it would turn into a career.  After several years spent working in academic and government libraries, she finally found her true calling behind the reference and reader’s advisory desk at a public library. In May of 2013, she returned to the “Southern Part of Heaven” to become the Director of the Chapel Hill Public Library.  Before that, she was the Marketing Director at Lawrence Public Library in Lawrence, KS, where she spearheaded the Banned Books Trading Card Project, which won a John Cotton Dana Award from the American Library Association.  Before moving to Kansas, she worked at libraries in Virginia and North Carolina, including Wake County and Orange County Public Libraries.  Susan holds a B.A. from Virginia Tech and an M.L.S. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.   She is loves to talk about the future of public libraries, social media, reader’s advisory, and marketing and merchandising.  Susan blogs about practical marketing for public libraries at

photo of Marci Merola

Marci Merola is the Director of the Office for Library Advocacy at the Chicago-based American Library Association, which focuses on providing advocacy resources and tools to libraries at the state and local levels. She works to educate members and citizens on current issues and the importance of libraries, as well as integrating advocacy efforts throughout the association.

Marci came to ALA in 2001 as the Advocacy Specialist within the ALA Public Information Office. Before joining ALA, Marci worked as a freelance writer in the not-for-profit sector, and a writer and editor for a variety of publishing firms. Marci has a Masters in Library Science from Dominican University. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from Northern Illinois University.




  • ALA member: $20
  • Nonmember: $25
  • Group: $120*
  • Library System or Multiple Groups/Locations: Contact Kristin*

*For purposes of group registration, a group is defined as 6 or more people gathering in one room at one location to watch the webinar. We suggest that groups, especially larger groups, use a LCD/LED projector and speakers capable of amplifying the audio when viewing the webinar. If you'd like to purchase, this webinar for a library system please contact Kristin for pricing options. 

Neither individual nor group registration includes permission to rebroadcast or redistribute this webinar. Thank you for your cooperation.

How to Register

To access the recording of this webinar using a major credit card, please click here

Questions regarding registration should be directed to ALA’s Membership and Customer Service department at 1-800-545-2433 x5 or e-mail to

Tech Requirements


For registration and content questions, please contact Kristin Pekoll, Assistant Director, Office for Intellectual Freedom at or 312-280-4221.

Questions regarding registration should be directed to ALA’s Membership and Customer Service department at 1-800-545-2433 x5.