Events and Programs

Future Programs

Defend Intellectual Freedom: A Challenge Response Toolkit for Libraries

Thursday October 1st 10:00 AM – Noon
Online Via Zoom (Zoom link will be sent out Wednesday September 30th)
Members: $12.50 Non-Members: $18.75 Students: $6.25

Having good conflict resolution skills will help you defend intellectual freedom in your library. This program will teach you effective strategies for responding to in-person complaints about library collections, programs or displays.

This program has been approved for 1.5 contact hours of continuing education.
Registration deadline is: September 24th
To register online:

Past Programs

Fake News in a Fact-Averse World
2018 MLA/DLA Conference

Fake news...heard about it lately?  What exactly does that mean and what can you do about it?  Learn how to navigate the endless amount of information coming to you by being able to define and identify fake news and help your library patrons be better information consumers in the process. The presenter is Andrea Boothby Rice, Public Service Librarian, Queen Anne’s County Library.

LGBTQ+ and You(th Access)!
2018 MLA/DLA Conference

Did you know that 3 of 2016’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books were challenged due to LGBT characters and content? Find out why LGBTQ+ representation in youth literature is important, and how you can identify great LGBTQ+ books for your school or public library collection. Learn how you can support LGBTQ+ youth in your community, including supporting the rights of young library users to access print, non-print, and digital materials. The presenters are Joy Fisher (President, PFLAG of Westminster - Carroll County), Nay Keppler (Children’s Services Librarian, Frederick County Public Libraries – C Burr Artz Branch), Erin Snell (Outreach Services Librarian, Carroll County Public Library), and Hannah Wilkes (Children’s Services Supervisor, Frederick County Public Libraries – Thurmont Branch).

Library Privacy Law, Ethics, and Third Parties: How Libraries Must Evolve in the Era of Data Sharing, Data Analysis, and Security Breaches
2018 MLA/DLA Conference

Libraries are governed by state privacy laws and guided by their ethical commitment to respect and protect users’ privacy. Today, librarians consider rapidly expanding online service options, opportunities to collect and analyze patron usage data,  plus contracts with third-party vendors to provide enhanced or new services.  Have we taken adequate precautions and updated our policies and practices to protect users and user data in this complex environment?   Do our users have adequate options to protect their privacy?   Learn more about patron privacy: state privacy law in Maryland and Delaware; how libraries are updating policies and practices; how best to give users options to opt-in to services that share their data; how vendors can be partners in protecting user data; what to negotiate in contracts; and more. Presenters are Denise Davis, Director Emerita of Cecil County Public Library and MLA President; James LaRue, Director, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom; and Erica Karmes-Jesonis, Technology Services Manager, Cecil County Public Library.

You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Read Banned Books! A Panel Discussion
September 28, 2017, 2:00pm – 4:00pm

During this program, a panel of experts will discuss the joys and challenges of supporting teen’s right to read freely. Learn what ALA states about the rights of teens using the library, key terms in discussing banned books, sample verbiage to use when discussing challenged material, reasons some materials are currently being challenged, and why all materials have the potential to add value to a library’s  collection. The panel will include Kathy MacMillan, young adult author; Erin Gambrill, a public librarian; Gail Faust, a high school media specialist; Beth Daum, a high school English teacher; Maddy Burton, a high school student; Janene Overby, a parent of two teenagers. Facilitator is Steve LaBash, retired librarian and member of the Intellectual Freedom Advisory Panel.

Sponsors: IFAP, TIG

This program has been approved for 1.5 contact hours of continuing education.

Your Digital Footprint: Manage It Wisely
A program of the MLA/DLA Annual Conference
May 11, 2017, 3:00 - 4:00 PM

It’s a funny thing about the World Wide Web – we tend to forget it is worldwide. Recent headlines of online hacks – from world leaders’ emails to credit card numbers – prompt us to worry about our safety and financial well-being, but we shouldn’t stop there. Issues of privacy extend beyond passwords and pin numbers to the social media realm, where a host of issues can haunt us. Some are issues of security, and many others we bring upon ourselves. In this session, we will discuss and examine strategies for  managing an array of threats, not only to our privacy and finances but also to our online personas that could compromise our jobs, relationships, and lifestyles. Presented by Dr. Jennifer Brannock Cox, Assistant Professor, Communication Arts Department, Salisbury University.

Sponsors: IFAP, DLA, DASL

This program has been approved for 1 contact hour of continuing education.<


Censorship and the Law
A program of the MLA/DLA Annual Conference
May 5, 2016, 3:00 - 5:00 PM

How well have our laws upheld freedom of speech and opposed censorship through the years? How do today's cases show how our interpretation of the First Amendment continues to evolve? Are there legal decisions that have actually threatened privacy or intellectual freedom? Intellectual freedom is a core value of American libraries. Learn about its legal underpinnings from Katherine M. Bolger, a First Amendment lawyer with Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, LLP.

Sponsor: IFAP

This program has been approved for 2 contact hours of continuing education.


Data Mining Craft: Who is Collecting your Information and What Can you Do About It?
May 7, 2015, 3:30 - 5:30 PM

Everyone who uses the internet is mined for data. Many corporations and organizations have begun to monetize and use this data in new and unforeseen ways. This program will explore the ways in which data mining can be used and how librarians can help users become aware and take proactive steps to deal with the privacy, legality and ethics of data mining. Presented by Carrie Gardner, Principal Consultant, Clairmaxine Consulting.

Sponsor: IFAP

This program has been approved for 2 contact hours of continuing education.


Defending Access with ConfidenceA pre-conference of the MLA/DLA Annual Conference
May 6, 2015, 9:00 AM - noon

Being confronted with a would-be censor can be challenging emotionally, intellectually, and professionally. Learn the basics of defending access while keeping your cool. We will cover the foundations of Intellectual Freedom, library policies and local laws to learn, effective behaviors to use with patrons, and resources to support you when responding to challenges. Your presenters are Monica McAbee, Selection Librarian, Prince Georges Memorial Library System, MLA IFAP officer; Mary Somers,  Reference  Librarian, Harford Community College Library (retired); and Cathay Keough, Statewide  Coordinator, DE Reference/Public Services, Delaware Division of Libraries.

Sponsors: IFAP and DLA

This program has been approved for 2 contact hours of continuing education.

Beyond Fifty Shades - The Whole Crayon Box: Erotica in Public Libraries
A program of the MLA/DLA Annual Conference
May 9, 2013, 9:00 – 10:15 AM

Katie Dunneback – Selection Librarian, National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Mary Hastler – Director, Harford County Public Library
Monica McAbee – Selection Librarian, Prince George's County Memorial Library System

The publicity surrounding Fifty Shades of Grey brought new attention to the topic, but public libraries have always faced complex questions about erotica and sexual content in their collections. What are the boundaries of the categories and labels we use? How do we gauge community standards and the changing views of our customers? How do we balance intellectual freedom and customers' objections? How can we provide good reader's advisory service to customers who specifically look for – or wish to avoid – erotic content? Hear from a library director and two selection librarians about these and other questions, and ask ones of your own during the discussion.

This program is worth 1 contact hour of continuing education

MAD about Libraries: Comics, Satire, and Censorship in Libraries
A program of the MLA/DLA Annual Conference in Ocean City, Maryland
May 10, 2013, 9:30 – 10:45 AM<

Joe Raiola – MAD Magazine
Steve LaBash – Retired

Joe Raiola has had a flourishing career as a solo performer, comedy writer, producer, director and speaker on first amendment issues. He is currently MAD Magazine's "Senior Editor," a title he insists "means nothing since I work at the only place in America where if you mature, you get fired." Steve LaBash has served as the MLA Intellectual Freedom Officer, has been elected twice as ALA Councilor from Maryland, and has been a member of the MLA Intellectual Freedom Panel for over 20 years. He is the retired Director of the University of Baltimore's Langsdale Library. Come hear these two experts riff on intellectual freedom and censorship issues in libraries.

Sponsor: IFAP
This program is worth 1 contact hour of continuing education

Protect Patron Privacy: It's the Law!
A program of the MLA Annual Conference in Ocean City, Maryland

Carrie Gardner, Assistant Professor, Department of Library Science and Information Technology, Kuztown University and San Jose University
David Rocah – Staff Attorney, ACLU of Maryland
Angela Maycock – Assistant Director, Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association

How does the issue of privacy and confidentiality affect your library, its patrons and your work? Are you confused about the current privacy laws? Do you find that you’d like to know more about this important issue, but never seem to have the time to wade through the information? This is your opportunity to gain an understanding about what is often considered a confusing, muddy aspect - and core value – of library work.

Three speakers will help participants gain an understanding of "privacy basics." You will learn enough about specific legislation (such as the Patriot Act) to understand how it directly pertains to your library. The day begins with the speakers’ presentations and ends with a forum discussion addressing questions posed throughout the presentation. This workshop is designed to benefit library staff and administrators. Join us as we explore the various aspects of privacy and confidentiality and what this means for each of us in our day-to-day library work. Walk away with a clearer understanding about how you can ensure privacy for your patrons, yourself and your library.

Sponsor: IFAP
This program is worth 5.5 contact hours of continuing education.

Harmful to Minors

Date: October 1, 2007
Time: 9 AM - 3 PM
CEUs: 4 hours of continuing education units (.4 CEUs)
Registration: $50 MLA members, $75 non-MLA members, $42.50 students

Location: West County Branch AACPL, 1325 Annapolis Road, Odenton, MD 21113

Many adults object strongly and sincerely to various materials they believe are inappropriate for children and teens to see, hear, or read. In the name of protecting minors, they urge libraries to filter, remove, or otherwise restrict access to certain kinds of material. Is this ever appropriate or justified? Or does it constitute censorship and violate the rights of minors? How can a library provide access to all materials to its users in the face of community pressure, threats of withholding funding, and restrictive legislation? To what extent do any of these kinds of materials cause actual harm to minors? Dr. Gardner will explain how and why libraries should uphold the rights of youth to access library materials. If you work with children or teens in a library setting (public or school), or if you make policy for your library system, you will want to hear what Dr. Gardner has to say.

Sponsored by: IFAP, PSD, CSD

Printable program description

Presenter: Dr. Carrie Gardner, Assistant Professor Coordinator, School Library Media Program, School of Library & Information Science, The Catholic University of America

  • School libraries carry "Harry Potter, Judy Blume, and a book with the word "scrotum" on the first page.<
  • Public libraries display magazines with nudity right on the cover.
  • Unfiltered access to the Internet leads to kids printing out pornographic images.
  • Rap albums in the music collection contain violent and misogynistic lyrics.

Can the KKK Meet in the Library? Law for Library Administrators

Date: Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Time: 9 AM - 4:30 PM
Event: Maryland Library Association Conference 2006, May 3-5, 2006
Location: Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel
Address: 10100 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, MD 21842
Contact: Monica McAbee Phone: 301-336-4388 Email:

Presenters: Dan Mach, ACLU Washington Office and Dr. Carrie Gardner, Assistant Professor, School of Library and Information Science, The Catholic University of America Description: Can the Ku Klux Klan meet in my library?  Can a religious group use the library meeting room?  Is it a good idea to label parts of the collection according to genre?  These are questions that library administrators often face.  This presentation will examine thew constitutional principles inviolved and review case studies on these and other topics.  Patron behavior policies, exhibit spaces and literature distribution issues will also be discussed.

What is this Filth? Law for Front Line Library Staff
Date: Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Time: 9 AM - 4:30 PM
Event: Maryland Library Association Conference 2006, May 3-5, 2006
Contact: Monica McAbee Phone: 301-336-4388 Email:

Presenters:  Steve Anderson, Director, Maryland State Law Library, Dr. Carries Gardner, Assistant Professor, School of Library and Information Science, The Catholic University of America, Monica McAbee, Selection Librarian, Prince George’s County Memorial Library system, and Mary Somers, Public Services Librarian, Harford Community College and MLA Intellectual Freedom Officer

Description: It is late in the evening. You are the only staff member on duty in the library. An irate patron approaches, waving a book and screaming, "What is this filth?" what do you do? Join our presenters as they discuss the above scenario and the topics of collection development policies, privacy and confidentiality and rights of youth access to library materials.

After lunch, join Mary and Monica as they reprise their popular program "Defending Access with Confidence". Leave equipped to teach your staff how to follow and support your library's policies, and to empower employees to respond to or refer challenges with confidence.

Last updated 09 July 2018.