On Wednesday, June 22, OELMA collaborated with Kent State University’s School of Information to host our Freedom to Read Forum. The day included two keynote presenters, a panel discussion regarding a recent book banning attempt in Ohio, and four other informative session presentations. We were fortunate enough to have 32 registered attendees, a few of them joining us virtually. The day was organized under the power-duo leadership of Kris Konik, OELMA Director of Teaching and Learning, and Dr. Meghan Harper, Director of the Kent State School of Information. Presenters included Professor Mary Anne Nichols, Dr. Chic Canfora, Dr. Belinda Boon, Liz Deskins and Dr. Christina Dorr. Scholarships were awarded to several current Kent State Students and Graduates to attend as well and were funded by Kent State’s School of Information.
OELMA also "took over" the AASL Instagram account for the day to showcase this event on national social media and our very own Amanda Brasfield, Director of Communications, posted the entire day's events via images and video clips on the AASL Instagram account--super exciting!
The day’s events discussed a variety of topics related to the freedom to read and book censorship. Important points were mentioned by each presenter and collaborative notes were taken by attendees to refer to for the future. Topics included what to include in a material selection and collection development policy, as well as suggested procedures for when a book is challenged within a school district. There was also information shared about self-censoring, bias, and recommendations for book titles that focus on student issues and topics that reflect our students' own lived experiences.
There was some discussion about possibly making this an "annual" Summer event, so stay tuned for more information!
Here are some quotes and images from a few of our attendees about the day’s events:
This event truly opened my eyes to what librarians do, manage, and go through on a daily basis. It really surprised me how little we know about what librarians do, and I was glad to learn more about it. -Alia O’Brien
OELMA always does such a nice job in creating meaning professional learning opportunities and today was no exception! I left with so many great resources on such an important topic! -Kristin Dages
Today's forum was proof positive of the difference librarians can make in students' lives and how imperative it is that every student have a trained, certified librarian to protect their right to read. Christina Conti
As an incoming MLIS student, it was incredible to hear the stories and advice of current librarians who care so much about providing safe, educational spaces for everyone. You could tell everyone was there not because they had to be, but because they want to improve their libraries and make them as inclusive as possible, which is inspiring and encouraging for a future librarian like me. - Savannah Gould
So glad I attended, It was so well worth it! I gathered enough information to update my collection development policies as well as my challenge policy. -Lisa Barnes Prince
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