The Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) is a non-profit legal and educational organization affiliated with the American Library Association. FTRF protects and defends the First Amendment to the Constitution and supports the right of libraries to collect - and individuals to access - information.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees all individuals the right to express their ideas without governmental interference, and to read and listen to the ideas of others. The Freedom to Read Foundation was established to promote and defend this right; to foster libraries as institutions wherein every individual's First Amendment freedoms are fulfilled; and to support the right of libraries to include in their collections and make available any work which they may legally acquire.
Founded in 1969, the Freedom to Read Foundation was the American Library Association's response to its members' interest in having adequate means to support and defend librarians whose positions are jeopardized because of their resistance to abridgments of the First Amendment; and to set legal precedent for the freedom to read on behalf of all the people.
FTRF is a separate organization from the American Library Association, with a separate membership.
The Freedom to Read Foundation was incorporated in November of 1969. Its charter lists four purposes:
- Promoting and protecting the freedom of speech and of the press;
- Protecting the public's right of access to information and materials stored in the nation's libraries;
- Safeguarding libraries' right to disseminate all materials contained in their collections; and
- Supporting libraries and librarians in their defense of First Amendment rights by supplying them with legal counsel or the means to secure it.
The Foundation's work has been divided into three primary activities:
- The allocation and disbursement of grants to individuals and groups for the purpose of aiding them in litigation or otherwise furthering FTRF's goals;
- Direct participation in litigation dealing with freedom of speech and of the press.
- Education about the importance of libraries and the First Amendment to our democratic institutions.
The Foundation is devoted to the principle that the solution to offensive speech is more speech, and the suppression of speech on the grounds that it gives offense to some infringes on the rights of all to a free, open and robust marketplace of ideas.
See also Freedom to Read Foundation Time Line.
HOW TO CONTACT THE FREEDOM TO READ FOUNDATION
Freedom to Read Foundation
50 East Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611
Telephone: 800-545-2433, ext. 4226
Barbara M. Jones
Executive Director and Secretary
Telephone: 800-545-2433, ext. 4222
Acting Program Officer
Telephone: 800-545-2433, ext. 4223