Intellectual Freedom/Social Responsibility Committee 

Workshops Offered for Staff Development and Training Days

Are you looking for a low-cost, reality-based training for your front-line staff? Consider hiring an MLA trainer from the Intellectual Freedom & Social Responsibilities Committee. Training is $300. for a half-day program, plus mileage for trainer(s). We offer two workshop options, both based on ALA training modules. These are introductory programs, focused on preparing your staff to better face the challenges of working with the public.

Workshop 1: CUSTOMER SERVICE: Balancing Rights & Responsibilities
This workshop covers basic customer service issues in libraries. Discussions include the differences between customer service and patron behavior concerns, where staff behaviors intersect with your library's policies, and helps participants understand their responsibilities and those of their customers. Participants work through scenarios and try to solve problems together using their experiences and those of their colleagues. If time allows, the Trainer will go over some tips for dealing with patrons with problems.

Workshop 2: DEFENDING ACCESS WITH CONFIDENCE: A Practical Workshop on Intellectual Freedom
This workshop is intended for front-line staff who may not have an academic or practical background in Intellectual Freedom in public libraries. Topics include the history and development of thinking about First Amendment rights related to public libraries, how to handle patrons who may express concerns related to controversial materials in the library, and concerns about censorship today. The emphasis is on practical applications, understanding your library's policies, and developing on-going dialogue among staff and administrators on related concerns.
For more information or to book a Workshop, contact Krista McLeod at or 978-686-4080 x10. (Available dates limited.) All proceeds from these workshops benefit the Advocacy and Education efforts of the Massachusetts Library Association.

Intellectual Freedom / Social Responsibility Committee Mission Statement

The mission of Massachusetts Library Association's (MLA's) Intellectual Freedom/ Social Responsibilities Committee (MLA-IF/SRC) is to inform and educate librarians and the general public about the nature and importance of intellectual freedom. The MLA-IF/SRC encourages libraries and library staff to adhere to the principles of intellectual freedom, including unimpeded access to information, freedom of expression and the privacy rights of library users. The Committee also advocates forpublic policy that is consistent with the highest standards of good library practice and which support freedom of thought and access to information for all people. MLA-IF/SRC develops, proposes and implements a process for MLA participation in national events and days such as Freedom of Information Day and Banned Books Week, represents MLA on issues of intellectual freedom and provides assistance and/or information to librarians who have issues or questions about intellectual freedom situations. The committee selects and prepares information dealing with intellectual freedom issues for addition to the MLA web site, develops programming for annual conference and periodically presents an award to an outstanding individual or group who has protected intellectual freedom. The Committee will also draw attention to human rights issues and social inequity, as social responsibility is a core value of librarianship. The MLA-IF/SR Committee will help establish progressive priorities within MLA and the state of Massachusetts, conduct programs to educate and inform our library colleagues and the public about social issues, and promote diversity in all aspects of librarianship and library service in the Commonwealth.

Committee Co-Chairs:

Jacqueline Rafferty
Paul Pratt Memorial Library 35 Ripley Road Cohasset, MA 02025 Phone: 781-383-1348

Carol Witt 

Committee Members:

Matt Amory
   Canton Public Library
 Jenny Arch
Winchester Public Library         
Michael Barker

Phillips Academy, Andover
Laura Bogart

Mass Library System                  
Susan Caulfield
Clayton Cheever
Michelle Eberle
 Andrea Fiorillo

Newton Free Library
Thomas Crane Public Library
Mass. Library System
Reading Public Library                                                                                                          
Kim Hewitt

Waltham Public Library
Patience Jackson
Mass. Board of Library Comm. (Ret’d.)
Luke Kirkland
Elizabeth McKinstry
Krista McLeod
Susan Pizzolato

Waltham Public Library
Worcester Public Library
Nevins Memorial Library
Mattapoisett Free Public Library
Andrea Puglisi
Rachel Sideman-Kurtz
Michelle Spinney
Karen Tobin

Berkshire Athenaeum

Meeting Schedule:

The MLA-IF/SRC meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month from 2-4 pm.  Currently, the Committee meets via Conference Call, with three “in-person” meetings during the year. Participants may also attend meetings via conference call. Email for conference call access information.

Helpful Resources:

Banned Books Week
Challenges to library materials
ALA Internet Filtering Statement
MLA Resolution on USA Patriot Act Reauthorization
Massachusetts Library Confidentiality Law

Nebraska Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Manual
Privacy rights of Minors and Massachusetts state law
ALA's USA Patriot Act

American Library Association Social Responsibilities Roundtable

American Library Association, Office of Intellectual Freedom

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