Before the Mud Flies: Conversations for Banned Books Week

Quote: "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." - Benjamin Franklin

NOTE: This past webinar has now been archived. The recording can be viewed on YouTube or below for free.

You’re aware that Banned Books Week is coming up at the end of September. You may have already planned your displays, picked your books, and ordered your posters and buttons, but have you talked to others around you?

The event itself can be antagonistic. Administrators and colleagues may be defensive at the mere mention of a display or program that appears to celebrate controversy and sensitive topics. Starting early with conversations can strength your professional relationships and more clearly define your purpose to celebrate the freedom to read.

This webinar is going to focus on ways to prepare your colleagues who may not be as familiar with the First Amendment’s right to read and the censorship that is still happening in our country.

  • Talking points for your director or principal
  • Elevator Speech for your teachers
  • Agenda items for your board members
  • Question and Answer handouts for your colleagues

Banned Books Week is a time to celebrate our freedom and our love for books that have made an impact on us. By taking a few thoughtful steps to prepare those around you, it doesn’t have to be a controversial or negative experience. 

This archived webinar was originally presented September 1, 2015
Running time: 61 minutes

Learning Outcomes

  • Encouragement and preparation to start conversations about Banned Books Week
  • Resources to share 
  • Improving the user experience of Banned Books Week
  • Confidence in professional support if a challenge happens
  • Building a better relationship with your colleagues

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 Kristin Pekoll

Kristin Pekoll is Assistant Director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF). She is part of a five person team dedicated to promoting the right to read and providing education about the First Amendment. Kristin communicates with state library associations on current book challenges and publications that deal with censorship, privacy, ethics, and internet filtering. She organizes online education and training on the freedom to read and how to navigate reconsideration requests and media relations. 

Photo of Millie DavisMillie Davis is the director for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Intellectual Freedom Center. Millie Davis has more than 20 years of experience in the classroom, teaching at the high school and college levels. 

Davis began her work with NCTE’s Anti-Censorship Program when she arrived at NCTE in 1989. She was instrumental in developing NCTE’s current system of response to challenges to instructional materials and in establishing NCTE’s collection of rationales for instructional texts. In addition, Davis continues to work with NCTE members developing and revising position statements to support NCTE’s belief in the student’s right to read and the teacher’s professional judgment in the selection of instructional materials and methods of instruction. 

Through NCTE’s Intellectual Freedom program, Davis offers advice, resources, and letters of support for teachers who face censorship challenges or who want to prepare themselves in advance for such challenges.





How to Register

Tech Requirements

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


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