For immediate release | April 7, 2020

Freedom to Read Foundation Launches Webinar Series

The Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) will be conducting a webinar series over the next few months to provide online education focused on intellectual freedom for library professionals. These webinars will be geared towards librarians, library students, educators, individuals involved in media, publishing, and social media, and individuals interested in the First Amendment, censorship, and copyright.The webinars are complementary to foundation members ($25 non-members) and will be conducted via Zoom.

Webinar: Reaching Students When Access to Technology is Out of Reach

Date: Thursday, April 16, 2020

Time: 4 p.m. Eastern / 3 p.m. Central / 1 p.m. Mountain / 12 p.m. Alaska / 10 a.m. Hawaii


  • Angela Branyon, Assistant Professor at the University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA
  • Bob Bocher, State E-rate and Broadband Support Team, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Madison, WI
  • Erin Hollingsworth, District Librarian, North Slope Borough School District, Utqiaġvik, Alaska

Moderator: Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Executive Director, Freedom to Read Foundation, Chicago, IL

Register here:

During this time of shelter-in-place directives, many students are able to continue studies through distance or eLearning. What happens when students are in areas so remote that they can’t reach internet access, and teachers are unable to get materials to them? Or when people are in a populated area but lacking the funds or supportive networks needed to attend school online or maintain a schedule? This is common in rural areas and cities throughout the United States. Join us to better understand existing barriers to technology and information, and to hear what some librarians and educators are doing to help. FTRF Director Deborah Caldwell-Stone will provide a brief overview of E-rate discounts for school telecommunications and internet access.

Webinar: Intellectual Freedom and the Law: Social Media, First Amendment Audits, and the Library as a Public Forum

Date: Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Time: 2 p.m. Eastern / 1 p.m. Central / 12 p.m. Mountain / 11 a.m. Alaska / 10 a.m. Hawaii

Register here:

Presenter: Theresa Chmara, General Counsel, Freedom to Read Foundation

Moderator: Joyce Hagen-McIntosh, Consultant, Freedom to Read Foundation, Chicago, IL

Do you know what the law says about the public library’s ability to regulate and moderate comments and posts on the library’s social media sites? Can “First Amendment Auditors” film library patrons with impunity? This program will explore the current case law addressing public libraries’ responsibilities with respect to moderating social media as well as the ability of libraries to manage and regulate photography and recording activities inside the library. Learn how to minimize your library’s exposure to litigation if your library has a social media site open to the public or if an individual claims a right to film inside the library. There will be time set aside for your questions about these topics and other questions concerning intellectual freedom and the law.

Webinar: The Challenge of Challenges: Strategies for Protecting Inclusion and Silencing Censors

Presenters: Martha Hickson, Librarian, North Hunterdon High School, Annandale, NJ and Leslie Edwards, Librarian, Voorhees High School, Glen Gardner, NJ

Moderator: Joyce Hagen-McIntosh, Consultant, Freedom to Read Foundation, Chicago, IL

Date: Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Time: 1 p.m. Eastern / 12 p.m. Central / 11 p.m. Mountain / 10 a.m. Alaska / 9 a.m. Hawaii

Register here:

We strive to create inclusive library collections that reflect a diverse global community. But what happens when members of the school community challenge or attempt to ban such inclusive materials? In this session, high school librarians Leslie Edwards and Martha Hickson share the tools, strategies, and resources that helped them preserve inclusion and successfully oppose their district’s attempt to ban Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home from their school libraries. In addition to getting access to the materials used to defend the book, participants will receive a checklist and links for preparing a Challenge Emergency Kit composed of free resources that can be customized for any challenged book in any school or grade level.


Yumeka Brown

Program Officer

American Library Association

Freedom to Read Foundation