ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee Publishes New Guidelines, Resources for Libraries on Social Media and Controversial Programs

“From the American Library Association:

2018-07-05_12-23-41In response to program cancellations and rising concerns about social media access and privacy, the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee published new guidelines and a Q&A for library workers.

Social Mediafor Public and Academic Libraries” provides a policy framework for public and academic libraries that use social media. Topics range from staff responsibilities and acceptable behavior, to privacy and reconsideration forms.

Using recent court cases, the resource explicates the definition of “public forum” as it relates to social media platforms, as well as outlines what may be in a library’s social media policy. The guidelines include suggestions for creating social media policies but is not intended as a comprehensive list of requirements or legal advice.


The IFC also published “Responding to and Preparing for Controversial Programs and Speakers Q&A,” which offers strategies and resources for libraries to address community concerns and prepare for potentially controversial library-initiated events.

The Q&A is divided into four sections: representation of all views at library programs, disinvited speakers and authors, dealing with protests and speakers, and security for programs and events. It includes suggestions on how to “set the tone” during a controversial program and how to be transparent about policies and expectations.

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