Title: Chair, Intellectual Freedom Committee

Vision: For all Montana Library Association members to understand First Amendment rights and to protect those rights.

First Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Mission Statement: The mission of the Intellectual Freedom Committee is to actively educate the membership and Montana citizens about First Amendment rights and to protect those rights.

Goals and Objectives:

  • Educate membership of intellectual freedom principles.
  • Publicize and promote participation in Banned Book week events.
  • Recruit well-qualified speakers for workshops and annual conference.
  • Submit at least one program proposal concerning Intellectual Freedom Issues to the Conference Planning Committee.
  • Give Pat Williams Intellectual Freedom Award to worthy recipient.
  • Advocate against censorship in legislature and all libraries.
  • Assist all libraries preparing policy documents such as selection policies, internet use, etc.
  • Publicize to members the committee’s role of support to any librarian/library facing an intellectual freedom challenge.

Timeline: Intellectual Freedom committee timeline Fiscal Year: July 1–June 30

Ongoing:Reports due for Board meetings on Committee activities. Program proposals are due for Continuing Education gatherings. Articles are due in FOCUS spotlighting committee activities.

July: New committee members and chairperson assume office.
Annual MLA membership dues and payable for all committee members.
Committee budget and annual summary of activities are due to the Executive Director.
Budget Committee completes draft of annual budget for approval by Board of Directors.
FOCUS deadlines are the 25th of the previous month for issues published October, December, February, April, June and August.

August:Committee chair notifies the Conference planning Committee Chair of the size and type of room required for any separate business meetings at the annual conference and any special arrangements required.

September:Committee publicizes Banned Book Week, Committee program proposals are created for MLA conference.

October:Attend Board of Directors meeting and supply committee report.

January:Legislative Day held when Legislature is in session and Board meeting with report. Select nominees for Pat Williams Intellectual Freedom Committee Award.

April:Attend annual conference and Board meeting with report. Present IF award at Awards

June:Final report due to Executive Assistant. Committee chair transmits records, files and other pertinent information to his or her successor.

Job Description: The Chair of the IF Committee is a volunteer for the Montana Library Association, with the following responsibilities:

  1. Assist the VP/Pres Elect in recruiting members for the committee:
    1. include each division and each department within a library such as Technical Services and Children’s Department.
    2. represent all divisions within the Association, including paraprofessionals and professional staff.
  2. Collect and distribute information about first Amendment issues and events from various sources such as the ALA IF Roundtable and other electronic lists to committee members. Focus, Wired, State IFC list and MLA Exec. Board.
  3. Continually educate membership about First Amendment issues by recruiting speakers and conducting workshops at all MLA functions including Montana Educators Association, Division retreats, annual conference, Banned Books Week, Offline, and Festival of the Book.
  4. Report challenges to state library and report censorship incidents to MLA President and the Intellectual Freedom Office of the American Library Association.
  5. Attend hearings and meetings related to censorship challenges in local schools and libraries to defend the right-to-read and support MLA members defending the right-to- read.
  6. Prepare and present an annual report at Board meeting immediately following conference.

With input from committee members:

  1. Establish an annual budget due by July 1 of each year. Make suggestions on the committee charge to the President.
  2. Compose reports of committee activities for MLA Board meetings.
  3. By the date of the January ML A meeting, in coordination with the Awards and Honors Committee and in compliance with the Guidelines for Awards and Honors (Appendix 2), this committee may solicit nominations and select recipients for the Pat Williams Intellectual Freedom Award to be presented at the annual conference.
  4. In cooperation with the Government Affairs Committee, testify at legislative sessions to protect First Amendment rights.

Date: July 2008
Updated January 2018