Law and the Right to Read: What Your Trustees Need to Know

NOTE: This webinar is FREE to members of the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) and FREE to some United for Libraries statewide partners. Please read the information below *before* purchasing registration for this webinar.

Live Webinar Date/Time

Date: Wednesday, June 5, 2024 
Start Time: 2:00 p.m. Eastern
Duration: 60 minutes


Trustees have a special role in upholding the right to read.  Many elected and appointed trustees seek out their role because of their love of the library or their local school district, but they may not understand why it’s critical to uphold the First Amendment right to access information for their fellow community members or students.

In this session, Trustees will learn the basics of intellectual freedom related to their role, and how First Amendment rights are related to policies and access in our public- and public-school libraries. They will be given the tools needed to support staff and patrons’ rights, including their own, and tackle challenges that arise in their community.

Learning Objectives

  • An understanding of publicly funded libraries responsibilities to protect the right to read and access the library under the First and Fourteenth Amendment .
  • An understanding of proposed laws, ordinances, and administrative rules intended to censor materials or restrict library workers’ ability to provide information to their community Strategies for effective advocacy to preserve the right to read, including networking with local and statewide groups.
  • Resources through the American Library Association, United for Libraries, and the Freedom to Read Foundation that help fight censorship.


Deborah Caldwell StoneDeborah Caldwell-Stone is Director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and Executive Director of the Freedom to Read Foundation. For over twenty years she has worked closely with library professionals and library trustees on a wide range of intellectual freedom issues related to library service in the United States. She has served on the faculty of the ALA-sponsored Lawyers for Libraries and Law for Librarians workshops and is a contributor to the 10th edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual. She has contributed articles on law, policy, and intellectual freedom to American Libraries and other publications.


Theresa ChmaraTheresa Chmara is an attorney in Washington, DC. She also 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 thirty years and is a frequent speaker on intellectual freedom issues in libraries.  She is a contributing author for the Intellectual Freedom Manual published by the Office of Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association. She also served as an instructor for the Lawyers for Libraries training seminars and an instructor for the American Library Association First Amendment and Library Services E-Course.


Please read the information below *before* purchasing registration for this webinar.

Webinar Includes

  • Live webinar
  • On-Demand access to recording
  • Slides and handouts

Target Audience

  • Library Directors
  • Library Trustees / Library Board Members
  • Students

How Registration Works

Pricing and Participation

  • All registration and participation is per person; there is no group viewing or group registration option.
  • Base price is $79 per person. Membership‐related discount is based on the membership status of the person purchasing the seat(s):
    • ALA personal members receive a 10% discount
    • United for Libraries personal members receive a 35% discount.
  • Bulk purchase discounts apply for purchases of multiple seats (3‐6 seats extra 30% off; 7‐12 seats extra 35% off; 13+ seats extra 40% off).
  • Purchaser receives one “sign‐up code” per seat purchased and distributes sign‐up code(s) to individuals, who then redeem the sign‐up code to complete their registration.

Residents of MA, MD, MI, MS, ND, NE, OR, SC, SD, VA
  • Do not purchase registration for this course.
  • Your state library provides FREE registration to attend the live webinar and access the on-demand video for the duration of the statewide partnership.
  • Complete the state partner registration form.
  • If you have questions, please contact

Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) Members
  • Free registration is for FTRF members and is non-transferable.
  • Refer to the email you received from FTRF for the coupon code.
  • To register:
    • Click "Register" above or below.
    • Enter the coupon code in the appropriate box on the shopping cart page.
    • Purchase registration.
    • Return here to the ALA eLearning site to locate your signup code. Click on the drop-down menu below your name in the upper right corner of your screen. Select the option for "Signup Codes" and locate your signup code for this course.
    • Redeem your signup code to be registered in the course and receive your Zoom link via email.

United for Libraries Personal Members
  • Make sure you are logged in with the account associated with your personal membership to ensure the 35% discount applies.
  • You will receive 35% off all individuals seats purchased. Additional discounts apply as follows:
    • 3-6 seats: additional 30% off per seat
    • 7-12 seats: additional 35% off per seat
    • 13+ seats: additional 40% off per seat

Tech Requirements

The live webinar will be held in Zoom. Speakers or a headset for listening to the presentation are required. Closed captioning is available in the Zoom platform. Text-based chat is available, and attendees will use the Q&A panel to submit questions to the presenter. Speakers will answer questions as time allows. The webinar will be recorded and accessible within 72 hours of the live session.


If you have a question or need to make arrangements for additional assistance or accessibility, please contact Jillian Wentworth (