Recent concern over the 2018 ALA Meeting Room interpretation as being an invitation for hate groups to use the library, and the general concept of libraries as a "neutral" place, invites a continuation of the meaningful discussion about whether intellectual freedom allows for hate speech. Peter Coyl (Director of the Montclair Public Library) and Nadine Strossen (author of HATE: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship and past President of the American Civil Liberties Union) will discuss:
- how library workers can better understand and implement the principles in the Library Bill of Rights - what hate speech is, as well as how it affects those it targets - why the First Amendment protects hate speech
Attendees will better understand the complex nuances of free speech and how to explain it so users and staff feel welcome.
New York Law School professor Nadine Strossen, the immediate past President of the American Civil Liberties Union (1991-2008), is a leading expert and frequent speaker/media commentator on constitutional law and civil liberties, who has testified before Congress on multiple occasions. She serves on the advisory boards of the ACLU, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), and Heterodox Academy. The National Law Journal has named Strossen one of America’s "100 Most Influential Lawyers.” Her 2018 book HATE: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship was selected by Washington University as its 2019 “Common Read.”
Peter Coyl is the Director of the Montclair (NJ) Public Library. He is a Trustee of the Freedom to Read Foundation, a member of the Public Library Association's Task Force on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice, and the New Jersey Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee. Previously he served as chair of ALA’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table, Chair of the Stonewall Book Awards Committee, and a member of ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee. He is a frequent presenter at regional, state, and national library conferences and workshops training librarians on a wide variety of professional issues, especially intellectual freedom and has been interviewed and quoted by major national media outlets including National Public Radio, Huffington Post, Forbes, Library Journal, and American Libraries.