Thursday, June 20, 2013

IFRT Report needs your contributions!

The Intellectual Freedom Round Table Newsletter editors call all inspired ALA attendees! 

Will you attend Susan Crawford, Michael German, and Geoff Stone’s panels at the ALA conference?

Did any other IF panels at the ALA conference make you realize something that everyone should know about?

We would also like to publish articles from advocates for the Treaty for the Blind, and any other intellectual freedom issues that need attention. 

Please contact IFRT Report editors John Harer or Bridget O’Leary-Storer by July 15th for consideration.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

IFRT accepting nominations for 2014 Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award

The American Library Association (ALA) Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) is seeking nominations for its 2014 Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award. The biennial award is presented for the best published work in the area of intellectual freedom and consists of $500 and a citation. Nominations will be accepted through Dec. 1, 2013.

The award was named for Eli M. Oboler, the extensively published Idaho State University librarian known as a “champion of intellectual freedom who demanded the dismantling of all barriers to freedom of expression.”  Works to be considered for the award may be single articles (including review pieces), a series of thematically connected articles, books or manuals published on the local, state or national level in English or English translation. The work must have been published within the two-year period ending the December prior to the ALA Annual Conference at which it is granted. The 2014 award is for work published between 2012 and 2013.

The Oboler nomination form is available on the ALA website. Nominations and supporting evidence should be sent to:  Shumeca Pickett, ALA, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611. Telephone: 312-280-4220 or 800-545-2433, ext. 4220. Fax: 312-280-4227. Email:

The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) provides a forum for the discussion of activities, programs and problems in intellectual freedom of libraries and librarians; serves as a channel of communications on intellectual freedom matters; promotes a greater opportunity for involvement among the members of the ALA in defense of intellectual freedom; promotes a greater feeling of responsibility in the implementation of ALA policies on intellectual freedom. 

IFRT events at ALA-Annual Chicago

We hope you are able to join us at any or all of our events at the upcoming ALA Annual conference!

IFRT 40th Anniversary Celebration
Friday, June 28, 2013 — 7:30pm to 10:00pm
Chicago Cultural Center Preston Bradley Hall
78 E. Washington St. at Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL

Refreshments, including signature cocktails, will be served.

We are pleased to also now be able to offer library-focused tours of  this historic building, the former site of the central branch of the Chicago Public Library!

** Tickets are only available for purchase until next Monday, 6/24.
Tickets will NOT be available on-site. For more information on ticket  purchasing, go to **

"How a Book is Saved: Challenges and How to Fight Them"
IFRT's Conference Program
Saturday, June 29, 2013 — 8:30am to 10:00am
McCormick Place Convention Center—S405

What motivates an individual to challenge materials in a library’s  collection and how should the library respond? Please join us for an anatomy of a challenge.  Emily Knox will explore the  motivation to challenge materials. Kristin Pekoll and Suellen Reimers
will discuss their libraries’ experiences with challenges. And, Nanette Perez will explain what you can do to prepare for a challenge – before it happens. Coffee and  pastries will be served.

IFRT Executive Board Meetings
Everyone is welcome to attend.
IFRT I: Friday, June 28, 2013 — 1:30pm to 2:30pm
IFRT II: Monday, July 1, 2013 — 8:30am to 10:00am
Both meetings will be held at the Palmer House Hilton in the Chicago Room

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Help us help librarians!

The LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund

Karla Shafer served as director of the Hooper (Nebr.) Public Library for six and a half years before a controversy erupted in 2010 over the English classes she taught to immigrants in a nearby town on her days off. She resigned her position when the work environment became untenable. Three months later, her unemployment benefits were canceled, following an appeal from the city.

With money running out and few other options available to her, Karla turned to the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund for assistance. The Fund gave Karla $5,000 to help pay her overdue bills and legal expenses. “What I perceived as harassment and punishment would have truly destroyed me had it not been for the Merritt Fund,” Shafer said. “It is still hard to describe the emotional suffering of those months.”

In 2011, Karla moved to Omaha and accepted a part-time library position. “It is very evident there comes a time for many of us when we need others – even strangers – to say ‘Here, I’ll help you. That could have been me!”

Since 1971 The Merritt Fund is devoted to the support, maintenance, medical care, and welfare of librarians who have been
·         denied employment rights or discriminated against on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, color, creed, age, disability, or place of national origin; 
·         denied employment rights because of defense of intellectual freedom; that is, threatened with loss of employment or discharged because of their stand for the cause of intellectual freedom, including promotion of freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and the freedom of librarians to select items for their collections from all the world’s written and recorded information.
The Merritt Fund cannot provide this assistance without the help of supporters like you. Please join us in supporting our colleagues by making a donation to the Merritt Fund. Visit the Merritt Fund donation page to make your donation today at
Loida Garcia-Febo
Chair, IFRT Merritt Fund Committee

Friday, June 14, 2013

Utah Library Association IFC receives the 2013 Gerald Hodges IF Chapter Relations Award

The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) of the American Library Association (ALA) announces that the Utah Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee is the recipient of the 2013 Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award.

The Intellectual Freedom Committee of the Utah Library Association built “a strong Intellectual Freedom cohort in the State of Utah. In one year they had a fivefold increase in membership, developed and implemented training programs, successfully assisted in fighting a highly publicized banned book situation, publicized Intellectual Freedom issues, developed relationships with community organizations; recruited students, new graduates and paraprofessionals, and forged bonds and closer relationships as a committee.” Barbara Pickell, Hodges Award chair said, “The achievements of the Utah Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee epitomize the values and goals that are recognized by the Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award.”

The Hodges Award recognizes an intellectual freedom-focused organization that has developed a strong multi-year, ongoing program or a single, one-year project that exemplifies support for Intellectual Freedom, patron confidentiality and anti-censorship efforts. The award, named after Gerald Hodges, who joined the ALA staff in 1989 as director of membership services and the Chapter Relations Office, consists of $1,000 and a citation. Hodges was the associate director of communications and marketing at his death in 2006, but intellectual freedom and chapter relations were still his passions. A charter member of the ALA Legacy Society, he willed a portion of his estate to support ALA's intellectual freedom efforts. Memorial contributions in recognition of Hodges came from many friends, colleagues and ALA chapters following the establishment of the Gerald Hodges Fund.

This is the first year the award was given in his honor and will be presented at the IFRT 40th anniversary celebration. Come join the IFRT from 7:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. on Friday, June 28, 2013 at the magnificent Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St. at Michigan Ave., Chicago) for the celebration. The evening will include live music, building tours, delicious edibles, and signature libations.

Tickets for the celebration are $30 for IFRT members, $40 for non-members and $20 for students. To purchase a ticket, just visit by June 24 and go through the Annual Conference registration site. If you already have registered for the Annual Conference, you can just add this ticketed event. Note: if you do not want to attend the rest of the conference, you can purchase tickets just for this event. Just begin the registration process and then select “Ticketed Events.” Tickets will not be available at the door.

In celebrating the 40th anniversary, IFRT will also celebrate our first chair of the Round Table, John Phillip Immroth (1973–1974). Proceeds from the 40th anniversary celebration will go to increase the endowment of the John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award. You can help. Your event sponsorship donation of $100, $250 or $500 will help to continue this prestigious award for many years to come. This year’s Immroth award winner, Amnesty International, will also be presented at the celebration. The bulk of your sponsorship
donation is tax-deductible. To become a sponsor of the IFRT 40th anniversary celebration, contact Shumeca Pickett at or (312) 280-4220.