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Meeting Schedule

The next MLA-IF/SRC meeting will be March 3rd, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. via Zoom. Register here

IFSRC meets four times a year at libraries throughout the state, at the Massachusetts Library System office, or via Zoom. Email to join the Committee or for more information.

The previous meeting was held on Thursday September 16th at the Reading Public Library.

Intellectual Freedom & Social Responsibilities Committee

Congratulations to our first Civil Liberties Champion Award winner, Salem State University's Dr. Roopika Risam! Read more about her, her work in promoting equity and justice in the digital cultural record, and the award itself here; see also the Boston Globe's article about Dr. Risam and the award (Internet Archive link).

Thank you to all who joined us at our Confronting Inequality Symposium on October 18, 2018, at Milton Public Library. Our special guests were Virginia Eubanks, Chris Collins, and our 2018 Civil Liberties Champion Award winner, Dr. Roopika Risam. There was also a Civic Engagement Fair, where exhibitors shared their ideas and undertakings with attendees. For more information, visit our Symposium page.

Workshops Offered for Staff Development and Training Days

Are you looking for a low-cost, reality-based training for your front-line staff? Consider hiring an MLA trainer from the Intellectual Freedom/Social Responsibilities Committee. Training is $300 for a half-day program, plus mileage for the trainer(s). We offer two workshop options, both based on ALA training modules. These are introductory programs, focused on preparing your staff to better face the challenges of working with the public.

Download the Workshops flyer as a PDF. For more information or to book a Workshop, contact Krista McLeod at or 978-686-4080 x10. Available dates are limited.

All proceeds from these workshops benefit the Advocacy and Education efforts of the Massachusetts Library Association.

Workshop 1: CUSTOMER SERVICE: Balancing Rights & Responsibilities

This workshop covers basic customer service issues in libraries. Discussions include the differences between customer service and patron behavior concerns, where staff behaviors intersect with your library's policies, and helps participants understand their responsibilities and those of their customers. Participants work through scenarios and try to solve problems together using their experiences and those of their colleagues. If time allows, the Trainer will go over some tips for dealing with patrons with problems.

Workshop 2: DEFENDING ACCESS WITH CONFIDENCE: A Practical Workshop on Intellectual Freedom

This workshop is intended for front-line staff who may not have an academic or practical background in Intellectual Freedom in public libraries. Topics include the history and development of thinking about First Amendment rights related to public libraries, how to handle patrons who may express concerns related to controversial materials in the library, and concerns about censorship today. The emphasis is on practical applications, understanding your library's policies, and developing on-going dialogue among staff and administrators on related concerns.

Intellectual Freedom/Social Responsibilities Committee Mission Statement

The mission of Massachusetts Library Association's (MLA's) Intellectual Freedom/Social Responsibilities Committee (MLA-IF/SRC) is to inform and educate librarians and the general public about the nature and importance of intellectual freedom. The MLA-IF/SRC encourages libraries and library staff to adhere to the principles of intellectual freedom, including unimpeded access to information, freedom of expression and the privacy rights of library users. The Committee also advocates forpublic policy that is consistent with the highest standards of good library practice and which support freedom of thought and access to information for all people. MLA-IF/SRC develops, proposes and implements a process for MLA participation in national events and days such as Freedom of Information Day and Banned Books Week, represents MLA on issues of intellectual freedom and provides assistance and/or information to librarians who have issues or questions about intellectual freedom situations. The committee selects and prepares information dealing with intellectual freedom issues for addition to the MLA web site, develops programming for annual conference and periodically presents an award to an outstanding individual or group who has protected intellectual freedom. The Committee will also draw attention to human rights issues and social inequity, as social responsibility is a core value of librarianship. The MLA-IF/SR Committee will help establish progressive priorities within MLA and the state of Massachusetts, conduct programs to educate and inform our library colleagues and the public about social issues, and promote diversity in all aspects of librarianship and library service in the Commonwealth.

Committee Co-Chairs

Andrea Fiorillo Steph Barnaby
Reading Public Library Northeastern University Library
64 Middlesex Ave 360 Huntington Ave
Reading, MA 01867 Boston, MA 02115
Email: Email:
Phone: 781-944-0840 Phone: 617-373-8346

Committee Members

Will Adamcyzk Milton Public Library Legislative Committee Liaison
Matt Amory Canton Public Library Intellectual Freedom Champion
Chelsey Bell
Susan Caulfield Newton Free Library Intellectual Freedom Champion

Clayton Cheever Morrill Memorial Library
Conference Liaison
Annette Diola Wellesley Free Library Secretary, Social Liaison
Ron Favini
Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners
MBLC Liaison
Jessica FitzHanso Chelmsford Public Library  
Martin GarnarAmherst College Library
 ALA Liaison
Anna Gooding-Call Nevins Memorial Library
Hermayne Gordon Woburn Public Library
Patience Jackson Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (retired)  
Luke Kirkland Waltham Public Library  
Amanda Merk Norman Williams Public Library  
Joe MuleThayer Memorial Library
Anna Nielsen  
Cathy PiantiginiSomerville Public Library 
Susan Pizzolato Mattapoisett Free Public Library  
Andrea Puglisi Library Freedom Project  
Megan RametteWatertown Public Library
Kathryn Geoffrion ScannellReading Public Library
Elizabeth Sherry
Abigail Walzer

Morse Insitute Library
Eileen Dyer
Swansea Free Public Library


Helpful Resources

MLA Resources

MLA Resolution on USA Patriot Act Reauthorization (pdf)
Privacy Rights of Minors and Massachusetts State Law

American Library Association Resources

ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF)
ALA Intellectual Freedom Roundtable (IFRT)
ALA Social Responsibilities Roundtable (SRRT)
Freedom to Read Foundation
SIFnet: State Intellectual Freedom Network
Banned Books Week
Internet Filtering Statement
Library Bill of Rights
Support for Challenges to Library Materials
USA Patriot Act and Libraries

Other Resources

Massachusetts Library Confidentiality Law
Nebraska Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Manual

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