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Public Librarianship in Contentious Times
Rackham Amphitheatre & Assembly Hall
915 E Washington St
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
Tuesday, September 19, 2023, 9:00 AM - 4:15 PM EDT
Category: Events

Public Librarianship in Contentious Times

Since COVID-19, outside groups – often well-funded and formed online – have mobilized to demand the removal of library books whose characters, plots, biographies, or information do not agree with their individual beliefs. These demands for libraries to bypass First Amendment rights are causing unprecedented friction for a profession whose core beliefs include access for all and collections that represent a wide range of perspectives and human experiences. In this daylong conference, we’ll hear from experts on online communities, social media policies for public institutions, and online privacy and security. You’ll learn more about the resources available to libraries – from toolkits to public opinion surveys - from the Michigan Library Association. You’ll gain insight about how you can find calm and empowerment as you work to maintain First Amendment rights for all in your community. And you’ll have time to talk with other public librarians and those who care about access to information. While this event is geared for public librarians, all are welcome, including library trustees, library school or iSchool students, library workers from other library types, and First Amendment advocates. 

View the event program at


On-campus attendees receive free breakfast and lunch, parking, and access to all agenda activities. Attendees who register by September 5 will receive a complimentary copy of Free Speech: From Core Values to Current Debates, co-authored by keynote speaker Len Niehoff and E. Thomas Sullivan.  Michigan public library employees who register by August 16 and live more than one hour from Ann Arbor may request complimentary overnight accommodations when registering. 

Register to attend in-person:

Register to attend in-person


Virtual attendees receive free, live Zoom Webinar access to the welcome and panel discussion, keynote address, and MLA resources presentation. 

Register to attend online:

Register to attend online

This event is co-sponsored by the University of Michigan School of Information and the Michigan Library Association. Support provided by UMSI's William W. Bishop Lectureship Fund and Frost Open Access Fund.

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