Angry and Alarmed: Embracing the Concerned Parent

Cartoon image of shocked fatherNOTE: This past webinar has now been archived. The recording can be viewed on youtube or below for free.

Being confronted with a complaint is never an easy situation. You want to provide great books and a positive user experience.  And you value the opinions of your patrons, especially parents. Parents are your bread and butter. They check out laundry baskets of children’s books, attend your programs, donate supplies, and pay fines. Many times you are right there with them as they watch their children grow from toddlers to teens. You've seen toddlers chewing on books, preschoolers sounding out their first words, readers curled up with chapter books, and teens browsing the stacks with their friends. Many of your interactions are going to be positive but if you do encounter concerned parents who are angry or alarmed with a topic, this webinar can help. 

Acclaimed writers, educators, and librarians, Pat Scales and James LaRue will talk about those difficult conversations with parents who are concerned, upset, and trying to protect their children. They will share insights to guide the response from defensive to embracing, empathetic, and educational. 

This archived webinar was originally presented August 19, 2015

Running time: 63 minutes



  • Encouragement and insight to having difficult conversations with parents
  • Resources to share with parents on the importance of the freedom to read and what it means for their kids
  • Improving the user experience for patrons that can play a huge role in the financial and public parts of the library
  • Building a better relationship with your community

Who Should Attend

  • Librarians; children's, teens, youth services, public, K-12 school
  • Administration; directors, superintendents, principals,
  • Library Boards and School Boards


Photo of Pat Scales Pat Scales is a retired middle and high school librarian whose program Communicate Through Literature was featured on the Today Show and in various professional journals. She received the ALA/Grolier Award in 1997, and was featured in Library Journal’s first issue of Movers and Shakers in Libraries: People Who Are Shaping the Future of Libraries. Ms. Scales has served as chair of the prestigious Newbery, Caldecott, and Wilder Award Committees. She is a past President of the Association of Library Service for Children, a division of the American Library Association. Scales has been actively involved with ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee for a number of years, is a member of the Freedom to Read Foundation, serves as on the Council of Advisers of the National Coalition Against Censorship, and acts as a spokesperson for first amendment issues as they relate to children and young adults. She is the author of Teaching Banned Books: Twelve Guides for Young Readers, Protecting Intellectual Freedom in Your School Library and Books Under Fire: A Hit List of Banned and Challenged Children’s Books. She writes a bi-monthly column, Scales on Censorship, for School Library Journal, a monthly column for the Random House website, curriculum guides on children’s and young adult books for a number of publishers, and is a regular contributor to Book Links magazine. 
Photo of Jamie LaRue Jamie LaRue has appeared on NPR, been quoted and highlighted in Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and the Denver Post, and has hosted a local author interview TV program. A newspaper columnist for over two decades, he also wrote "The New Inquisition: Understanding and Managing Intellectual Freedom Challenges" (Libraries Unlimited, 2007). A frequent presenter for library associations, regional workshops, and library staff days, Jamie has also served as a facilitator, last-minute panelist, moderator, and master of ceremonies for everything from debates to awards dinners. From 1990 to 2014, he was director of the Douglas County (Colorado) Libraries, widely known as one of the most successful and innovative public libraries in the nation. He was the Colorado Librarian of the Year in 1998, the Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce's 2003 Business Person of the Year, in 2007 won the Julie J. Boucher (boo-SHAY) Award for Intellectual Freedom, and in 2013 won the Colorado Association of Libraries' Career Achievement Award. At the end of 2013, the Board of Trustees named a library after him in Highlands Ranch, CO - the James H. LaRue Library. In 2014, he embarked on a career of writing, speaking, teaching, and consulting.





How to Register

Tech Requirements

You’ll need a stable internet connection and working headphones/speakers.


Kristin Pekoll, Assistant Director, Office for Intellectual Freedom at or 312-280-4221.