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Intellectual Freedom Toolkit

Intellectual Freedom Toolkit

What is intellectual freedom? What does the First Amendment protect? Is there a difference between a challenge and a ban? Get answers with our Intellectual Freedom Fact Sheet. For information specifically about the legal test for obscenity, click here.

Next, start preparing for challenges to intellectual freedom with this quick guide.

You may also want to review our explanations of the collection development process and frequently challenged topics when considering how to talk about censorship.

The research, resources and discussion included here are only for purposes of information and research and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Libraries should contact their attorneys for advice with respect to a particular issue or problem.

Building a coalition? Consider purchasing MI Right to Read shirts for your team! Show support and build your own brand by wearing the same color. Profits support the MI Right to Read coalition.



Using this Toolkit

Resources in this toolkit include:

Click on the above links to jump to a section.


Reporting Censorship

If you hear of a challenge in your community, please share it by using this form so we can begin the work to find out how to help.

We encourage you to use this form to also request support concerning material challenges. These messages will be handled in confidence. We will not share your information with anyone without your permission.

The Michigan Cooperative Directors Association is working closely with MLA and the MI Right To Read coalition to ensure libraries across the state receive the support they need to defend the freedom to read. Michigan's network of Library Cooperative Directors will work together to provide regional support to libraries when the need arises. When you submit a request for support on this page, your library’s Cooperative Director will respond promptly to ensure you have the information, resources, and mobilization tools you need to address material challenges at your library.

The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom also collects statistics about censorship attempts. You may report incidents anonymously.

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General Resources

Resources on First Amendment law from Fight for the First:

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For School Library Staff

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For Public Library Staff

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For Library Boards and Trustees

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For Parents and Caregivers

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For Advocates and Community Members

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Example Documents

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Crisis Communication Plan

A crisis is defined as an event that happens suddenly and unexpectedly that poses a significant threat to the operations and reputation of your library. A crisis communication plan is a critical part of crisis management – preparation is key. This structured approach provides a framework for how and what to communicate to intentionally address crises to minimize negative perceptions and impact. The purpose of this guide is to construct a framework to provide an accurate rapid response, establish accountability and minimize the impacts of a negative event.

Effective crisis communication will:

  1. Inform the public about the situation by providing accurate and timely information.
  2. Maintain a public perception about how your leadership is responding to a crisis.
  3. Provide clear instructions about what to do or how to help in order to reduce or limit the duration or impact of the crisis.
  4. Reinstate confidence and provide a future-oriented perspective.

View MLA's Crisis Communication Guide for more information.

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Videos and Podcasts

View additional recorded sessions though MLA Connect On-Demand.

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Polls and Statistics

Michigan Polls and Statistics

Nationwide Polls and Statistics

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Uniting the Michigan Library Community

MLA is proud to partner with organizations serving the library community.

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