How would you handle an attempt to censor books in your library? In this program, we’ll use ripped-from-the-headlines scenarios as discussion prompts to provide practical strategies and resources that librarians can use to inform their defense of challenged materials. The conversation will be lead by librarians from a variety of backgrounds: Moni Barrette (President, Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table, American Library Association), Jamie Gregory (Upper School Librarian, Christ Church Episcopal School), Val Nye (Library Director, Santa Fe Community College), and Jack Phoenix (Manager of Collection Development and Technical Services at Cuyahoga Falls Library and Brodart’s Graphic Novel Selector).
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About the Panelists
Moni Barrette is a 16-year public librarian who expanded her expertise in libraries, comics, and relationship building through her role at LibraryPass as the Director of Content Management and Publisher Relations, where her interest in teaching grew. As co-founder of the nonprofit Creators Assemble and President of the American Library Association’s Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table, and adjunct lecturer at SDSU, she became dedicated to promoting learning through the use of comics and popular culture. Moni attends comic conventions, hosts industry networking events, and helps librarians and educators implement comics into their learning spaces.
Jamie Gregory is in her 18th year working as a high school educator, having spent her first 8 years as a high school English teacher and ten years as a high school librarian. She has been blogging for the Office for Intellectual Freedom since January 2019 and currently writes censorship articles for School Library Journal. She is the 2022 South Carolina School Librarian of the Year as well as the 2022 recipient of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table’s Eli M. Oboler Award for intellectual freedom writing.
Valerie Nye is the Library Director at Santa Fe Community College and has worked in libraries for over 25 years. She has edited two books that share stories of librarians confronting intellectual freedom challenges, True Stories of Censorship Battles in America’s Libraries (ALA, 2012) and Intellectual Freedom Stories: From A Shifting Landscape (ALA, 2020). Working on these books has allowed her to connect with librarians around the world and share stories and information about some of librarianship’s deepest held values, intellectual freedom and social justice. She currently serves as a Member on the Amigos Library Services board and as Past-President of the New Mexico Consortium of Academic Libraries. Valerie holds an MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Jack Phoenix is a ravenous reader with a burning love for pop culture and balloon twisting, He writes about comics, libraries, and comics in libraries, and is the recipient of two master’s degrees, one in Library and Information Science from Kent State University and the other in English from Ohio Dominican University. He now works as a manager for a public library in Greater Cleveland, where he lives with his husband, three dogs, and pet rats.