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"IF and Minors" FTRF/OIF Joint Educational Webinar

Monday, April 25, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: FTRF Programs
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Intellectual Freedom and Minors

Thursday, 5/26/2016
  • 2:00 PM-3:00 PM (Eastern)
  • 1:00 PM-2:00 PM (Central)
  • 12:00 PM-1:00 PM (Mountain)
  • 11:00 AM-12:00 PM (Pacific)

We all have First Amendment rights, but does that include children?

Most of the challenges to the materials and services in libraries are launched by parents, and usually to protect children (some as old as 17) from precisely the things that interest them most.  So what does that mean for the minors? What freedom do they have to read, view, and check out the materials they want? For the most part, librarians advocate for teens' rights, but there are still stories that we hear about labeling books, or limiting access based on grade, restricted shelves, and permission slips. This is sometimes defined as "soft censorship."

Our speakers will explore how those rights can be protected and respected, and take a closer look at the rights of parents, teachers, and library staff who are concerned about age-appropriate materials.

Learning Outcomes

  • Inspiration and motivation from one of the most controversial and frequently challenged teen authors
  • Definition and discussion of soft censorship
  • Information about the Office for Intellectual Freedom and the numbers around the children's and teen's books being challenged
  • Familiarity with the interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights that are relevant to minors
  • Clear understanding of specific legal terms that are often misused:
    • In Loco Parentis
    • Harmful to Minors

Who Should Attend

  • Librarians; youth, public, K-12 school
  • Administration: directors, systems, superintendents, principals
  • Library Boards and School Boards
  • Organizations concerned with the First Amendment and Intellectual Freedom
  • State Library Associations and Intellectual Freedom Committee members


Picture of Theresa Chmara

Theresa 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 twenty-five 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 and a frequent author for American Association of School Librarians' Knowledge Quest journal where she's published an article titled "Do Minors Have First Amendment Rights in Schools?"

Chris Crutcher’s years as teacher, then director, of a K-12 alternative school in Oakland, California through the nineteen-seventies, and his subsequent twenty-odd years as a therapist specializing in child abuse and neglect, inform his thirteen novels and two collections of short stories. “I have forever been intrigued by the extremes of the human condition,” he says, “the remarkable juxtaposition of the ghastly and the glorious. As Eric ‘Moby’ Calhoun tells us at the conclusion of Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, ‘Ain’t it a trip where heroes come from’.” He has also written what he calls an ill-advised autobiography titled King of the Mild Frontier, which was designated by “Publisher’s Weekly” as “the YA book most adults would have read if they knew it existed.”

Chris has received a number of coveted awards, from his high school designation as “Most Likely to Plagiarize” to the American Library Association’s Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award. His favorites are his two Intellectual Freedom awards, one from the National Council for Teachers of English and the other from the National Coalition Against Censorship. Five of Crutcher’s books appeared on an American Library Association list of the 100 Best Books for Teens of the Twentieth Century (1999 to 2000). A recent NPR list of the Best 100 YA and Children’s books included none of those titles.




  • FREE for Freedom to Read Foundation members (to find out more on how to become a member, visit or call 1-800-545-2433 x4226)
  • ALA member: $20
  • Nonmember: $25
  • Group: $120*
  • Library System or Multiple Groups/Locations: Contact Kristin*


DEADLINE TO REGISTER FOR THIS WEBINAR IS 11:59 PM CENTRAL ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 25. Due to technical preparations for the webinar we are unable to process any registrations after this date/time.