Serving All Communities: Navigating the Banned Books, Censorship & Intellectual Freedom Debates: Webinar

Serving All Communities: Navigating the Banned Books, Censorship & Intellectual Freedom Debates: Webinar

We are living in a time when freedom of speech, intellectual freedom, and the rights of individuals are vigorously debated daily. Local opinions about what books can be read and what words can be spoken are destabilizing forces in the day to day of educators and librarians across the country. Whether personally agreeing or disagreeing with the political machinations in individual towns and cities, librarians and educators still need to support every student, parent, and community member as their professions require. But how?

  • What are some strategies to navigate emotionally charged issues for staff and students?
  • How can educators and librarians ensure that individuals most affected by new laws still feel represented and included in these community spaces?
  • How can librarians and educators actively advocate without exacerbating already heated conversations?

In this panel discussion with library and education leaders, we share firsthand experiences and strategies to navigate these turbulent political times.


Becky Calzada is the District Library Coordinator in Leander ISD, a fast-growth school district just northwest of Austin, Texas. She is a Past Chair of the Texas Association of School Librarians, a division of the Texas Library Association. She is a Director at Large for AASL and a founding member of #FReadom Fighters.

Jamie Gregory is a National Board Certified Teacher in Library Media and currently works as a high school librarian and journalism newspaper teacher. She is the 2022 South Carolina School Librarian of the Year, the recipient of the 2022 IFRT Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award, and the 2021 Media Literacy Teacher Award from NAMLE.

Martha Hutzel currently serves as Library Director of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library in Virginia and formerly served as President of the Virginia Library Association.

Lisa Varga is the Executive Director of the Virginia Library Association and a member of the American Library Association Policy Corps. She has worked closely with the ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, as well as the Office of Intellectual Freedom, on several censorship issues in Virginia.

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