While most public libraries now have some sort of process allowing challenges to works in their collection some may find objectionable, the controversy in West Bend, Wisconsin, provides an opportunity to reexamine this process and explore how it can best serve the interests of both the library and concerned patrons. The program will discuss a survey of the challenge procedures and forms adopted by Wisconsin public libraries. Using hands-on exercises and role plays, participants will consider the variety of mechanisms currently in place and address such questions as standing to challenge a work in a public library collection, the role of the library’s collection development policy, the make-up of any challenge review committee, the option to appeal the committee’s determination, compliance with open meeting laws, and the time frame for decision. By providing a forum for opposing points of view, the challenge process can affirm the library’s commitment to intellectual freedom and educate the community about its stake in free access to information. A closer look at the challenge procedure can suggest ways in which it might accomplish both more effectively.
The presentation is Thursday, October 25 from 2:15-3:30 at the La Crosse Center.