Intellectual Freedom at the 2021 ALA Midwinter Virtual!

Midwinter Meeting/Annual Conference, Professional Development

Registration Deadline: January 19, 11:59 PM Central

There is an extensive list of meetings and discussions at the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits Virtual, which runs January 22-26. Yet there are a number of meetings and discussions the Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) believes you will want to attend. These include:

Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson: Features Speaker, PopTop Stage

Penguin Random House Penguin Young Readers is sponsoring this event scheduled for Friday, January 22, from 3 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Christian Robinson is a bestselling author, illustrator, and recipient of a Caldecott Honor and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor for his artwork in Last Stop on Market Street.

Matt de la Peña is a bestselling author and creative writing teacher. He won the Newbery Medal for Last Stop on Market Street.

In 2012, his novel Mexican WhiteBoy was banned from the Tucson, Arizona, schools as a result of the termination of the Mexican American Studies programs. Scheduled to speak to a group of high school students in Tucson shortly after, Matt donated his speaking fee to buy copies of Mexican WhiteBoy, which he gave to the students. “I want to give back what was taken away,” noted de la Peña.

In 2016, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) honored Matt de la Peña for his courage in standing up for intellectual freedom with the NCTE National Intellectual Freedom Award, given for de la Peña’s efforts to fight censorship not only through his words but also through his actions. 

PLA Legal Issues in Public Libraries Discussion Forum

This discussion forum will run Saturday, January 23, from 11 a.m. to noon. It is an open forum for the discussion of legal issues that commonly plague public libraries, such as patron privacy, copyright and licensing online, and patron behavior. The forum may also discuss recent legislation and legal cases impacting libraries. While the speakers will strive to provide accurate legal information to attendees, the forum is not the place to gain legal advice or professional services.

Thomas A. Lipinski, professor with the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, will serve as speaker and moderator of this forum.

The Future of Digital Equity

This discussion will take place Sunday, January 24, from 1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. The program will address the urgent need for digital equity in the United States.

Speakers will include Julie Walker, state librarian at Georgia Public Library Service; Gina J. Millsap, retired chief executive officer at Topeka and Shawnee (KS) County Public Library; Debra Lam, managing director at Georgia Tech Institute for People and Innovation; Leon A. Wilson, chief of Digital Innovation and Chief information officer of The Cleveland (OH) Foundation; Cindy Altick Aden, distinguished practitioner in residence and professor of practice at the University of Washington’s iSchool, in Seattle.

Practical Answers for Evolving Issues: Introducing the 10th Edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom is sponsoring this on-demand discussion that will address alterations to the latest edition to the Intellectual Freedom Manual. Some topics will include user privacy, minors’ rights, and advocacy and social justice.

Speakers will include Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom; Martin Garnar, director of the library at Amherst College; Theresa Chmara, general counsel for the Freedom to Read Foundation; Trina Magi, reference and instruction librarian at the David H. Howe Memorial Library at the University of Vermont; Helen R. Adams, contributor to the Intellectual Freedom Manual and School of Library Privacy advocate and member of the IFC Privacy Subcommittee; Kristen Pekoll, assistant director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom; and Eleanor Diaz, program officer for the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. 

All viewers will receive a coupon to purchase the 10th edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual at a discounted price. Learn more about the manual at the ALA Store:  

Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) Meeting

Officers and directors-at-large of the IFRT are encouraged to attend this meeting Sunday, January 24, from 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. The Executive Committee provides oversight of Round Table business and planning. It is also charged with carrying out the decisions of membership and approving the annual Round Table budget. Guests are welcome to attend. The agenda will be posted on the IFRT Members Community.

Learn more about the IFRT at:

Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) Meeting I

ALA’s IFC will hold its first meeting Monday, January 25, from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. The role of the IFC is to suggest policies for librarians and their libraries that adhere with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Library Bill of Rights as adopted by the ALA Council. Guests are welcome to attend.

Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE) Meeting

This meeting will take place Saturday, January 23, from 11 a.m. to noon. This committee will supplement the Code of Ethics with explanatory interpretations and additional statements the Committee prepared previously or arose from other ALA divisions. Guests are welcome to attend.

Have you registered for ALA Midwinter?

Composed by the Intellectual Freedom Round Table Publications & Communications Committee. Follow us on Twitter @IFRT_ALA.

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