The K-12 Library Connection, January 2022

Short Bytes for the K-12 Library Community

Welcome to the first installment of our Short Bytes twice-monthly mini-newsletter! This twice-a-month short-bytes newsletter will feature short articles and information that we’ve culled on promising K-12 librarian/library staff practice, timely issues, and more. We want to continue to build our K-12 librarian/library staff community in a way that fits your busy schedules. We’re hopeful this interactive mini-newsletter will help sustain that sense of community

For this issue, we’ll be focusing on the recent upticks in challenges to library materials and programs. Below are some resources and upcoming learning sessions focused on this important issue.

Censorship, Challenges, and Intellectual Freedom – Some Basics

Censorship, challenges, and intellectual freedom are important aspects of any librarian’s job. We have a responsibility to select materials appropriate to our student’s age level, while simultaneously protecting our young learner’s intellectual freedom as well as their right to read.

Due to the recent uptick in challenges, we encourage you to:

  • Read ALA’s Library Bill of Rights and ALA’s Challenge Support. Reflect on what things you learned from this.
  • Check your district or school’s policies around challenged books. Do you have a reconsideration form and process for what to do in the event of challenged materials? Do you have a district selection policy and/or one that has been recently updated?

Protecting a Student’s Right to Read

Listen to a recent webinar from ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom entitled “Protecting a Student’s Right to Read in a Hyperpartisan Environment” on how you could get your younger learners and adult learners (staff and parents) as fellow advocates if/when you are challenged.

Upcoming Workshop Sessions On Challenges

The Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) will be offering an all-day workshop for Colorado librarians/library staffs of all types on Friday, Feb. 25th. The below two sessions are being facilitated by various CO State Librarians at this workshop. Learn more about the upcoming CLiC Virtual Winter Workshop here:

Relax. Relate. Reflect. Preparing For And Responding to Material And Programming Challenges

Friday, Feb. 25 from 1:10 – 1:55

Libraries are increasingly facing challenges to the core mission of selecting, collecting, and organizing information for access by those for whom that information is vital and necessary. Libraries may also encounter challenges to inclusive programs. The Library Development unit of the Colorado State Library will introduce a framework that may assist library staff to prepare for and respond to challenges

Library Challenges On The Rise In 2021, Looking At You, 2022!

Friday, Feb. 25th from 11:10 – 11:55

The Intellectual Freedom Committee of the Colorado Association of Libraries (CAL-IFC) has become increasingly aware of library challenges not only in our state, but throughout the region and nation. Stories of organized efforts to pull books from library shelves and clashes between library boards, administration, and staff have dominated recent headlines. How can you prepare for when these issues come up at your institution? This presentation will cover background information about the recent rise in challenges and provide a processing framework for library staff, board members and trustees to use when challenges come to your library.

Compelling Read

We encourage you to read this recent article entitled “Librarians Fight Back Against Efforts to Ban Books in Schools” from Education Weekly. The article offers some insights into challenges, including how to tap into our younger learners to become our materials/program challenge advocates.

Idea Sharing

What are some of your strategies for dealing with challenges? How are you tapping into your younger learners and school community as allies for potential challenges that may come your way? Other thoughts/questions? Share your ideas in the comments or via our School Library Hotline listserv.


Becky Russell and Tammy Langeberg
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