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 www.merittfund.org
Loida Garcia-Febo
Chair, IFRT Merritt Fund Committee

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