ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom has reported over a 60% increase in challenges to books and materials over the previous year. In November 2021, the ALA’s Deborah Caldwell Stone said, “We should always take any attempt to ban or remove books from libraries seriously, because it’s an attempt to censor ideas and to enforce an orthodoxy of what is thought about and talked about in our communities.”

These challenges are often emotionally charged and highly politicized, and therefore require thoughtful and timely responses.

  • What are some effective tips for proactively preparing for challenges to materials, displays, or programming?
  • How do you access resources and colleagues for support?
  • What strategies can be used to frame the narrative and conversation?
  • How might you build strategic alliances for support?

Members of this panel will address these topics and provide an introduction to MLA’s new MI Right to Read Coalition; learn how you can help support intellectual freedom in communities across the state.



  • Lance Werner, Executive Director, Kent District Library
  • Clare Membiela, Library Law Consultant

  • Dillon Geshel, Superiorland Library Cooperative and MLA Intellectual Freedom Task Force Chair


  • Dennis Kreps, Director, Bridgman Public Library and MLA Intellectual Freedom Taskforce Vice Chair

MLA Connect: How to Respond to a Public Challenge01:11:21

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