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2019 Fall Forum

  • Saturday, October 19, 2019
  • 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
  • Camden Hills Regional High School


MASL's annual Fall Forum is an opportunity for collegial sharing and professional development designed specifically for school library staff.

Focused Morning: This year we are focusing on Advocating for Intellectual Freedom in Your School Library. We will hear from the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom about how to advocate for all learners through policy and collection development and access. In the morning, Deborah Deborah Caldwell-Stone, the Interim Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Freedom to Read Foundation, will join us virtually to discuss intellectual freedom laws and school libraries. In the afternoon, we will also be joined virtually by Kristin Pekoll, Assistant Director of ALA OIF, to learn about their toolkit for Selection and Reconsideration Policies. 

Focus Session Information:

Morning Session

Intellectual Freedom, School, and the Law: School libraries play a critical role in protecting intellectual freedom by ensuring equitable access to library facilities, resources, and instructional programs, safeguarding the confidentiality of students' library records, and promoting intellectual freedom as an aspect of a free and democratic society.

A knowledge of fundamental intellectual freedom principles, students’ free speech rights, laws addressing internet use and privacy and privacy preserving practices are all necessary tools to achieve these goals. Presenter Deborah Caldwell-Stone works on the forefront of current intellectual freedom issues in school libraries and will share best practices, clarify legalities, and highlight current hot topics, including internet use and student data privacy. She will also answer all of your related questions.

Deborah Caldwell-Stone is the Interim Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Freedom to Read Foundation.  She is a recovering attorney and former appellate litigator who works closely with librarians, teachers, and library trustees on a wide range of intellectual freedom issues. She has served on the faculty of the ALA-sponsored “Lawyers for Libraries” and “Law for Librarians” workshops and speaks frequently to library groups around the country on core values, intellectual freedom, privacy, and the law. She is a contributor to the 9th edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual and has contributed articles on law, policy development, and intellectual freedom to American Libraries and other publications.

Afternoon Session

Policies: The Backbone of Intellectual FreedomALA’s Selection & Reconsideration Policy Toolkit for Public, School, & Academic Libraries provides guidance and resources for selection, controversial materials and reconsideration requests. Presenter Kristin Pekoll will show case studies where policy is a major factor in a book challenge and take you through a guided tour of the toolkit and essential elements of a strong backbone… errr policy. 

 Kristin Pekoll is Assistant Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF). She is dedicated to promoting the right to read and providing education about intellectual freedom and the First Amendment. She is the author of "Beyond Banned Books: Defending Intellectual Freedom throughout Your Library" published by ALA Editions in 2019. Kristin shines a light on current challenges in libraries and schools and advocates for access to information through blogs, social media and presentations. As a former public librarian, she is most passionate about supporting teachers and librarians on the front lines. You can reach her on Twitter @kpekoll or email

Breakout Sessions: There will be a variety of breakout sessions and time for networking throughout the day. 

Play Me a Story: Enhancing Literacy through Theater: Join Portland Stage's Education Director, Hannah Cordes, for an interactive workshop designed to build and enhance student literacy and engagement with language and stories. Participants will leave with activities to bring straight to the classroom that encourage reading fluency, character recall, understanding of themes, emotional recognition, physical storytelling, vocal characterization, and student ownership of stories/language all through fun games and activities! 

Panel Discussion: Writing in an Age of Censorship: Author-editor Kate Egan, author Maria Padian, and author-librarian Megan Blakemore will form a panel to discuss censorship from the author's point of view and talk about what it's like to write in a world where book banning happens. This session will be moderated by Heather Perkinson.

Gale Interface Enhancements for Digital Maine Library: This summer, Gale released experience and design changes across its portfolio of products. These product enhancements are designed to increase access to library resources online, in the classroom and have a greater impact on user success. In this session, we'll offer an in depth look at these changes and discuss why they were made.

Gale Gems in Digital Maine Library: Did you know Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints has interactive statistics? And that Gale In Context: Middle School has letters and diaries from people moving west during the Westward Expansion? Or that Kids InfoBits has illustrations you can use for activities in the library? In this session, we’ll uncover unique content that lives in your Gale resources!

Fake News and Future Ready: The Latest on Information Literacy: The recent Maine Library Association conference included a number of sessions on Information Literacy, including helping Maine's PK-12 students prepare for college-level research and inquiry. This session will offer a mix of reporting out the latest information literacy initiatives at the state and national level, hands-on activities to use with your students and staff, and a chance to brainstorm and plan ways MASL can support information literacy skills for all Maine students. This session is facilitated by Megan Blakemore, Adjunct Instructor, UMaine.

What Would You Do? Responding to Intellectual Freedom Challenges in your Library: As school librarians and library ed techs, we put a lot of effort into creating balanced collections that meet the needs of our students, but what do you do when faced with a materials challenge? During this interactive session, participants will hear about scenarios based on recent materials challenges in school libraries. Participants will have an opportunity to process and discuss the scenarios in small groups and decide how to respond if faced with the same issues. Participants will learn about resources and techniques they can put into practice to protect the intellectual freedom of our students. This session is facilitated by Cathy Potter from Falmouth Middle School.




Maine Association of School Libraries

c/o Maine State Library

64 State Street

Augusta, ME


"MASL" is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. 

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