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Wednesday in Austin: FTRF45 Reception featuring David Levithan!

Posted By Jonathan M. Kelley, Friday, April 10, 2015

For those attending TXLA next week – or anyone in the Austin area!

FTRF45/Austin Reception
Wednesday, April 15  - 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Uncle Julio’s, 301 Brazos St.


Will you be in or around the Austin, Texas area on Wednesday, April 15? If so, please consider joining the Freedom to Read Foundation as we gather at Uncle Julio's as part of our continued celebration of FTRF45!  Visit for tickets and additional details.

This event will feature award-winning Young Adult author David Levithan. David will be discussing his experiences with censorship and signing copies of Every Day and his forthcoming book, Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story, which will be available to attendees for an additional donation.

For attendees of the Texas Library Association conference: Uncle Julio's is located a block away from the Austin Convention Center

Advance tickets: $40.00 FTRF members • $45.00 non-members • $25.00 students

Tickets at the door: $50.00

If you would prefer to get tickets by phone, or have any questions, please call (312) 280-4226.

Note: Texas Library Association Annual Conference attendees can add this ticket to their TLA event registration. 

Cosponsored by Texas Women's University School of Library and Information Studies. 

Special thanks to Penguin Young Readers Group and Random House Children's Books for their support of this event!

Tags:  Austin  David Levithan  FTRF45  Texas Library Association 

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Deadline for Conable Conference Scholarship applications extended to April 8

Posted By Jonathan M. Kelley, Friday, April 3, 2015

The deadline to apply for the 2015 Conable Conference Scholarship has been extended until Midnight CST on Wednesday, April 8. To apply, visit

The Conable Scholarship provides for ALA Annual Conference registration, transportation, housing for six nights, and a $300 stipend for meals and other expenses. The recipient also will receive a one-year membership in the Freedom to Read Foundation.  In return, the recipient will be expected to attend various FTRF and other intellectual freedom meetings and programs at conference, consult with a mentor/board member, and present a report about their experiences and thoughts.

The 2015 ALA Annual Conference will be held June 25-30 in San Francisco, CA.

Students currently enrolled in an ALA-accredited library and information studies degree program or an AASL-recognized master’s programs in school librarianship and new professionals (those who are three or fewer years removed from receiving an LIS degree) are eligible to receive the Conable Scholarship.

Tags:  Conable Scholarship 

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Scholarships available for fall "Intellectual Freedom & Censorship" at University of Illinois

Posted By Candace D. Morgan, Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Freedom to Read Foundation and University of Illinois' Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) today announced a continuation of our successful collaboration on "Intellectual Freedom and Censorship" - a two-credit online course for graduate students.  The collaboration is a project of FTRF's Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund.

This year, FTRF is pleased to announce we are offering four half-scholarships for students in institutions other than GSLIS. If you are - or know of - a student who would be interested in this opportunity, please spread the word!

For those who would like to make a donation to the Krug Fund, to help support the scholarships and the course, you can DONATE NOW.  Visit for more information on this fund.

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Newly Revealed Records Detail 2013 Decision to Remove Persepolis from CPS Classrooms

Posted By Jonathan M. Kelley, Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cross-posted to the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom blog. 

During the week of March 11, 2013, directives were issued by administrators at Chicago Public Schools’ Fullerton school network and Lane Tech High School to remove Marjane Sartrapi’s acclaimed graphic novel Persepolis from school libraries and classrooms on the grounds that the book contained inappropriate language and images.

The directive to remove Persepolis from CPS’ libraries and classrooms became public after students at Lane Tech alerted their colleagues in the school’s journalism program. Bloggers and critics publicized the directive and the apparent effort to ban the book from CPS classrooms and students took to the streets to protest the book’s removal. As the protests mounted, CPS administrators slowly backtracked on the initial directive; CPS Chief Barbara Byrd Bennett eventually issued a letter denying that there was any effort to ban the book and limiting the directive to remove Persepolis to 7th grade classrooms.

ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Freedom to Read Foundation were involved from the beginning, supporting the students and organizations that sought to keep the book in CPS classrooms, publicly protesting the apparent censorship of a critically praised work of literature, and seeking information about the events leading up to the decision to remove the book. In response to a FTRF Freedom of Information Act request that asked for all correspondence and electronic communications related to the decision to remove Persepolis from CPS classrooms, we only received the directives and letters that had already been publicly disclosed, and a copy of the agenda for the chief of schools meeting on March 11, 2013.  That document contained no information at all about Persepolis or the decision to remove or recall the book. We remained in the dark about who had filed the initial complaint about Persepolis and who had made the decision to remove the book from CPS classrooms.

Then Jarrett Dapier, an intrepid MLIS candidate at the University of Illinois’ Graduate School of Library and Information Science, filed his own FOIA request in order to gather materials for his paper on school censorship. And in December 2014, CPS provided Dapier with the emails and correspondence we – and other organizations – were​ told did not exist in 2013.

Ben Joravsky of the Chicago Reader has already written about the contents of the emails. With the permission of Mr. Dapier, we are now sharing the actual emails and correspondence – which reveal that, contrary to CPS’ public statements in 2013, there was in fact an effort to remove Persepolis from all schools and libraries in CPS. The emails detail the initial complaint, the decision to remove the book, and the eventual modification of the original directive to remove the book from CPS classrooms and libraries. (It’s important to note that Persepolis remained in school libraries only because a strong reconsideration policy – CPS Policy 604.7 – prevented its removal without sufficient review and due process.) The emails are an object lesson in casual censorship, the ability of one person to pass judgment on a work of literature, and the chaotic decision-making that occurs when a school system fails to have policies in place to address demands to censor classroom materials.

Our thanks to Mr. Dapier for his initiative and perseverance in obtaining these public records.

Tags:  Chicago Public Schools  FOIA  Office for Intellectual Freedom  Persepolis 

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Remembering David Cohen, 1909-2015

Posted By Jonathan M. Kelley, Thursday, February 12, 2015

The library world lost a true giant last week with the passing of David Cohen on Thursday, February 5. David received the FTRF Roll of Honor Award in 2005, just one of his many, many accolades honoring a career that spanned eight decades.

According to David's friend, Rocco Staino, David's family has requested that donations in his name be made to the Freedom to Read Foundation. We are deeply honored by this. If you would like to make such a donation, please do so here.  

We have created a special page to honor David here.  It includes photos, a list of honors and awards, and the text of his Roll of Honor citation.  If you know of anything we can add, please let us know in the comments of this post or by contacting Jonathan Kelley at Also, we'd love to read your memories of David in the comments.

From FTRF Executive Director Barbara Jones:
In the 1970s, fresh out of library school, I wanted to get involved with ALA. Intellectual freedom was my choice for focus. Then at NYU, I called David Cohen to ask how to get involved in IFRT. Within a couple of days, I was on the ballot to run for Secretary and the rest is history. David was generous like that.


From FTRF Program Officer Jonathan Kelley:

My most vivid memory of David Cohen was sitting backstage with him in 2005 as he waited to receive his Roll of Honor Award. Also waiting with us was then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama. Senator Obama went out of his way to congratulate David on his award, and they chatted for a bit. Later, during his keynote address, the senator prefaced his remarks by commenting on how impressed he was by the 96-year-old.

I will also always remember his powerful dedication to the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund, including spearheading the Intellectual Freedom Round Table's ongoing committee to support the Merritt Fund.

From the OIF/FTRF 30th Anniversary Roll of Honor Book (1999):

To many of his peers and colleagues, David is known as "Mr. Intellectual Freedom." His commitment to the principles have governed his professional career, as well as his personal life. He is one of the founders of the Long Island Coalition Against Censorship, and through this organization and many other means, he has worked unstintingly to make his beliefs a reality.




Tags:  David Cohen  EMIERT  IFRT  in memoriam  NYLA  Roll of Honor 

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