Friday, September 24, 2010

Alliance Defense Fund Challenges New Jersey Library's Meeting Room Policy

As they have done elsewhere.

Link to September 23 Independence Press article, "Millburn library responds to First Amendment challenge from religious group".

Excerpt:    The Millburn Free Public library trustees are considering making a change to one of the library’s policies after receiving a letter from an attorney representing the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a group that was formed to defend religious freedom.

Township Committee member Jim Suell, who is the governing body’s liaison to the library, announced on Sept. 21 that Library Director Bill Swinson had received a letter from an attorney representing the ADF questioning why the library prohibits religious groups from renting out the library’s meeting rooms.

The attorney claimed that the policy contains an unconstitutional restriction on religious meetings and could subject the library to liability. Citing three decisions in which the Supreme Court ruled that similar policies violated the First Amendment, he urged that a policy change be made.
Illinois Libraries Receive Alliance Defense Fund Letters

From the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee Report to Council 2010 Annual Conference Washington, DC Tuesday, June 29, 2010.

Alliance Defense Fund Letters on Meeting Room Policies
The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a Christian legal organization, has initiated a letter-writing campaign to libraries and schools around the country. The campaign targets libraries meeting room policies that restrict the use of the library’s meeting rooms for religious services. In its letter, ADF advises libraries receiving the letter that it believes the library’s meeting room policy is unconstitutional and that ADF will initiate legal action if the library does not change its policy. 

The Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has been providing librarians and library trustees with with answers to their questions about meeting room policies and the ADF’s letter including copies of model meeting room policies, information about court opinions addressing library meeting room policies, and advice on reviewing and revising meeting room policies in light of recommended best practices.

Librarians and library trustees who wish to speak to OIF about their meeting room policies and/or the ADF letter should call or write Deborah Caldwell-Stone, OIF’s Deputy Director. She can be reached at 800-545-2433 x4224, or

No comments: