Institute Curriculum

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Note: Sessions and schedule subject to change. Lawyers for Libraries workshops are not open to the public. The workshop is intended for licensed, practicing attorneys who represent or advise libraries and who wish to assist their clients to avoid liability and protect First Amendment rights in the library. Library trustees or board members who are responsible for establishing library policy may also attend. Librarians may attend if they are accompanied by a library attorney.

Session Descriptions

Drafting Library Policies and Minimizing Library Liability

This session will cover the basics of public forum analysis related to public libraries as well as specific cases related to book removals, Internet filtering, video challenges, meeting room issues, and patron behavior. Instructor will discuss the importance of drafting effective library use policies.

In addition, this session will cover the responsibilities and obligations of the library with respect to patrons and employees. Instructor will discuss the following questions: (1) whether the library can be deemed liable for providing patrons with unfiltered Internet access or inadvertent exposure to unprotected speech; (2) whether the library can be held liable for creating a hostile work environment for employees; and (3) how the CIPA decision and other cases affect the library's liability.

Privacy and Confidentiality

This session will discuss privacy and confidentiality issues related to use of the library by patrons. Instructors will discuss library practices and case law related to subpoenas and search warrants demanding patron circulation or library use records.

Librarian Panel

A panel of librarians will discuss their role in drafting and enforcing library use policies and how legal assistance is critical to their responsibilities to the community they serve. Special focus will be on the differences and connections between public, school, and academic libraries.

Materials from the Institute

Drafting Library Policies and Minimizing Library Liability: Theresa Chmara

Privacy and Confidentiality : Deborah Caldwell-Stone