Crafting Meeting Room Policies that Keep You In Charge and Out of Court

Sign reading "Meeting Room 304 Available"NOTE: This past webinar has now been archived. Access to the recording can be purchased; please see How to Register below for more details.

Legal advocacy groups are threatening legal action and filing lawsuits against public libraries whose meeting room policies exclude religious worship or meetings that include religious activities.  This webinar will discuss the First Amendment principles and legal precedents that underlie these lawsuits and provide practical guidance on crafting meeting room and other library policies that keep the library in charge of its meeting rooms while preserving users' access and First Amendment rights.  

This archived webinar was originally presented November 4th, 2015

Running time: 60 minutes

Learning Outcomes

  • Provide practical guidance on crafting library policy
  • Confidence in professional legal standing

Who Should Attend

  • Librarians
  • Administration: directors, systems
  • Legal Counsel for libraries and governing bodies
  • Library Boards 
  • Library consultants and educators
  • State Library Associations and Intellectual Freedom Committee members


Picture of Theresa ChmaraTheresa 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 twenty-five 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 and a frequent instructor for the Lawyers for Libraries training seminars.

Picture of Debra Caldwell-Stone

Deborah Caldwell-Stone is Deputy Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, where she works on initiatives defending the First Amendment freedom to read. An attorney by training, she now works closely with librarians, teachers, and library trustees on a wide range of intellectual freedom issues, including book challenges, Internet filtering, meeting room policies, and the impact of new technologies and the USA PATRIOT Act on library privacy and confidentiality. She has served on the faculty of the ALA-sponsored Lawyers for Libraries and Law for Librarians workshops and speaks frequently to library groups around the country.  Before she joined ALA in 2000, Deborah practiced appellate law before the state and federal courts in Chicago, Illinois. 




  • 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.

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. Look for the title of the webinar, "Crafting Meeting Room Policies" in the alphabetical list. 

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

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


For 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.