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Virtual Conference Town Hall

Standing Up for Intellectual Freedom Live Town Hall


As libraries continue confronting unprecedented attacks on the freedom to read, the Public Library Association (PLA) invited virtual conference attendees to participate in a virtual town hall to connect with colleagues. As those who have faced book banning attempts and related legislative efforts know, the experience is often isolating and stressful. During this free event, speakers participated in facilitated conversations that explored effective responses to the coordinated attempts at censorship currently sweeping the nation. A moderated chat followed, inviting attendees to pose questions and share insights based on personal experiences.

Peter Coyl is the Library Director & CEO of the Sacramento Public Library. Previously he was Director of the Montclair Public Library and Central Library Manager at the Dallas Public Library. He is the Vice President of the Freedom to Read Foundation, a member of ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee, and serves on ALA Council representing the Intellectual Freedom Round Table. He also served as Chair of the Stonewall Book Awards Committee; Chair of ALA’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (now the Rainbow Round Table); and as a member of PLA’s Task Force on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice.

Sara Dallas is the director of the Southern Adirondack Library System (NY). She sits on the Executive Board of the Freedom to Read Foundation and serves as a trustee on the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund. Sara is an ALA Councilor at Large and a former member of the PLA Board of Directors.

Erica Freudenberger (moderator) is a creative community-builder who works with libraries to create community-led change. Currently the Outreach, Engagement, and Marketing Consultant at the Southern Adirondack Library System, she formerly led the Red Hook Public Library, a finalist for Library Journal’s “Best Small Library Award.” She is a 2016 Library Journal Mover & Shaker. In her free time, she runs Thriving Libraries, LLC.

Emily Knox is an associate professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her book, Book Banning in 21st Century America (Rowman & Littlefield) is the first monograph in the Beta Phi Mu Scholars’ Series. She also recently edited Trigger Warnings: History, Theory Context (Rowman & Littlefield) and co-edited Foundations of Information Ethics (ALA). Her next book, Foundations of Intellectual Freedom (ALA), will be released in Fall 2022. Emily’s articles have been published in the Library Quarterly, Library and Information Science Research, and the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy. Emily serves on the boards of the Beta Phi Mu and the National Coalition Against Censorship.

Originally presented as part of the PLA 2022 Virtual Conference on March 25, 2022.

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