E-Course on the First Amendment and Library Services Begins September 12

First Amendment, Online learning

The First Amendment and Library Services, brought to you by ALA E-Learning, the Office for Intellectual Freedom, and the Freedom to Read Foundation, will introduce you to the legal principles behind the First Amendment, their practical implications in daily life, and how those principles affect library work. You will learn basic legal concepts, your rights as library employees, the rights of library patrons, and what the First Amendment does and does not obligate the library to provide.

The First Amendment and Library Services with Theresa Chmara

If you are a librarian, library worker, or library trustee who wants to improve your understanding of the application of the First Amendment to the provision of library services (or know someone who does!) this e-course offers the opportunity to learn about the legal principles and precedents that apply to such varied topics as book censorship, internet use, and meeting room policy.

Understanding these legal principles can be crucial in managing challenges to library materials, programs, and access to information, especially in a time when much misinformation – and disinformation! – circulates widely in newsletters, on social media, and through advocacy groups advocating for the removal or restriction of library resources. 

The course will be taught by Theresa Chmara, an attorney in Washington, D.C. who is the General Counsel of the Freedom to Read Foundation.  She is the author of Privacy and Confidentiality Issues: A Guide for Libraries and their Lawyers (ALA 2009). She has been a First Amendment lawyer for over twenty-five years and is a frequent speaker on intellectual freedom issues in libraries. She is a contributing author for the Intellectual Freedom Manual and frequently leads webinars and programs on intellectual freedom, libraries, and the law.  The course is suitable for all library workers, library administrators, library trustees, school librarians, and educators.

The course begins on September 12, 2022, and online registration is open on the ALA E-learning site. Participants in this course will need regular access to a computer with an internet connection for online message board participation, viewing online video, listening to streaming audio, and downloading and viewing PDF and PowerPoint files. Register now and expand your expertise and knowledge about the First Amendment!

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