The First Amendment: Fighting Censorship through Library Advocacy

Virtual Intellectual Freedom Workshop

Wednesday, May 22 9:00 a.m. - Noon (Virtual)



Opening Keynote:  Beyond the Red Tape: Empowering Advocates Against Censorship

Lisa Varga, Executive Director of the Virginia Library Association, Library Journal's 2024 Librarian of the Year  

In an era where the freedom to read, learn, and explore diverse perspectives is increasingly under threat, libraries stand as bastions of knowledge, inclusivity, and democratic access to information. "Beyond the Red Tape: Empowering Libraries Against Censorship" will delve into frontline experience navigating censorship challenges. We will discuss practical strategies and innovative approaches to safeguarding library collections and services against censorship attempts, ensuring that libraries remain vibrant centers for free expression and idea exchange.

Workshop:  The First Amendment: Fighting Censorship through Library Advocacy

Martin Garnar, Phd, MLIS, Director, Amherst College Library

Formal and informal challenges to library resources and services are at their highest levels in decades, and the freedom to read continues to be under attack. As library supporters, you have an important role in helping libraries provide access to the information that your communities want and need.

In this interactive workshop, you'll learn about the principles of intellectual freedom, discuss how to respond to real-life dilemmas, review best practices for library policies, and find out what you can do to support the First Amendment in your community. Attendees will be asked to identify a library policy in need of updating and will have the opportunity for real-time feedback. 

This workshop is a great opportunity to attend together with your trustees, city/village staff, and key library supporters. Due to the interactive nature of this workshop, attendees are encouraged to register and watch together as a group. Please register every attendee; group discounts for attendees from the same library are available. Attendance may be limited.

This event is brought to you by the WLA Intellectual Freedom Special Interest Group (SIG).

 About the Presenters

Lisa Varga, Executive Director of the Virginia Library Association, Library Journal's 2024 Librarian of the Year  

Lisa Varga

Lisa Varga is the Executive Director of the Virginia Library Association, a professional organization representing more than 5,000 librarians and library staff in Academic, Public and Special libraries throughout the Commonwealth. Earlier this year, she was named Librarian of the Year by Library Journal. Lisa currently serves as Chair of the Virginia Beach Public Library Board. She is a member of the International Council of Library Association Executives, the Virginia Society of Association Executives and the American Library Association Policy Corps, working on the Unite Against Book Bans program. She has presented locally and nationally on a variety of library and association topics and is a mom to three young men who all went through a “reluctant reader” phase.


Martin Garnar, Phd, MLIS, Director, Amherst College Library

Martin GarnarDr. Martin Garnar is the director of the Amherst College Library and the editor of the 10th edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual. His professional activities and speaking schedule reflect a profound inability to say no.

A native New Yorker, Martin lives in western Massachusetts with his husband Mark and their impossibly cute miniature dachshunds.





$40 for WLA Members, $60 for Nonmembers


Group Discounts

Group discounts are available for attendees from the same library (individual rates - member, non-member - apply)

  • 3 - 9 attendees = 10% off total registration 
  • 10 - 14 attendees = 15% off total registration
  • 15 or more attendees = 20% off total registration

 Group registrations must be made using the downloadable registration form. DOWNLOAD HERE

Group registrations sent by mail should be mailed to the WLA office together (make multiple copies of the form), and must be received by Friday, May 17. Alternatively, group registrations can be made by phone by dialing 608-245-3640.  Please have a credit card available for payment. 


 Cancellations received by May 17 will be refunded after the event.  No refunds after May 17.