Today, we’ll be presenting the work of six intellectual freedom heroes. We are Katie Dudley, Robyn McCreight, and Angela Ocana.
Judith Krug, who lived from 1940 to 2009, was a well-known intellectual freedom fighter and a longtime American Library Association employee who championed the right to free information for children, encouraging people to read books that have been challenged and working as an early voice for information freedom on the internet when it was still an unknown entity. In this photograph, she is standing next to Judy Blume, whose books are constantly being challenged. Krug once said: &quot;We do have our work cut out for us. The world we live in leads me to believe that librarians and trustees must strongly and often reaffirm their role in the 21st century. We must continue to strive to provide to all of our users in the multitude of communities we serve the information they need and want regardless of format. Bringing people together with information is our reason for being.&quot;
Judith Krug was a longtime hero for intellectual freedom in the United States. She was the director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom for 32 years, from 1967 until her death in 2009, which included many projects to combat censorship. Initiatives of OIF include Banned Books Week, which continues to be scheduled for a week every September. The Office for Intellectual Freedom is charged with the duty of implementing ALA’s policies concerning intellectual freedom, including the Library Bill of Rights. Krug said, “She also said, “If we permit the government or ourselves to take the law into our own hands to limit our freedoms, then the terrorists would have won. I am not willing to let them win. I am going to stick with the Constitution.” http://www.ala.org/offices/oif.
Two years after beginning work for the Office for Intellectual Freedom, in 1969, Judith Krug spearheaded the Freedom to Read foundation to defend works by championing the first amendment. Freedom to Read Foundation takes the goals of the Office for Intellectual Freedom a step further further by defending the First Amendment at any cost. Freedom to Read Foundation was formed 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.” (http://www.ftrf.org/?page=About)
Judith Krug was instrumental in developing banned books week as a provocative way to promote reading material protected by the First Amendment. Banned Books Week publicizes challenges to the First Amendment and encourages people to read banned and challenged books. The most challenged in 2012 was the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey.
Prior to her death in 2009, Judith Krug advocated for intellectual freedom on the Internet. She advocated for it before the Internet was a known entity and argued that children and young adults in particular should have free access to the Internet because it is their first amendment right.
Dorothy M. Broderick is another hero for intellectual freedom, especially for youth. The Freedom to Read Federation calls Dorothy “A legend in the field of intellectual freedom for young adults.” Dorothy began her career as a librarian at the Milford Public Library near her hometown of Bridgeport Connecticut. She went on to earn her MLS from Columbia university and her DLS from Columbia 20 years later. Dorothy was very active in ALA, especially in the Young Adult Services (what is now YALSA). In the late 1970’s the YA Services Division and Children’s Services Division shared a journal called “Top of the News.” At this time the two divisions were in the midst of a feud over the amount of pages given to each division because most of the articles published in the journal were about children’s services. One day Dorothy and her partner Mary K Chelton, who was president of YA Services at the time, overheard one of the editors say in reference to YA services “Those people don’t have anything to say.” This comment escalated the feud and the two women decided right then and there to start their own journal dedicated to YA Services. That journal was VOYA.
Mary and Dorothy founded Voice of Youth Advocates in 1978 out of their kitchen; collecting donations from fellow young adult librarians and taking out personal loans to purchase a duplicating machine. They had to collate and staple the first issues by hand and mail them out to members of YA Services. On the left you can see one of the original copies of VOYA and on the right you can see a more recent edition from 2008. Today VOYA is the top journal for young adult librarians. It focuses on young adult services including booklists and reviews, programming ideas, interviews with librarians, authors, and teens, and advocacy issues and solutions.
In addition to founding VOYA, Dorothy taught at the University of Alabama, wrote numerous academic papers on YA services, advocacy, and literature, and published a young adult novel. This is the novel on the left called Hank and it dealt with the controversial issue of a teen boy who is drawn into a gang after his father deserts his family. The image on the right is Dorothy’s study of “The image of the black in Children’s Fiction” and it looks at how African Americans are portrayed in children’s literature and the effect that these images might have in shaping children’s beliefs and attitudes towards others.
Dorothy also played a pivotal role in the controversy over an ALA sponsored film called “The Speaker” in 1977. The film portrayed a school in conflict over a hired speaker. The speech turns out to be one of hate and dominance as the speaker describes a theory of genetically based racial inferiority and superiority. The film was meant to inspire discussions about how to promote first amendment rights even when a person is using these rights to convey difficult viewpoints such as racism or sexism. Ironically, the film itself almost became censored by the ALA because members felt the film portrayed racial stereotypes and did not provide satisfactory solutions to the dilemma. Dorothy defended the film, saying “We cannot as an Association dedicated to the dessemination of all ideas, be so unsophisticated as to equate defending a racist’s right to speak with being a racist. It is the right to be heard that is important, not the quality of the ideas.” The film was finally released with discussion guides for teachers, but the controversy serves as a cautionary tale against the type of self-censorship we discussed earlier in this class.
In 1998 Dorothy received the Freedom to Read Foundation’s Roll of Honor Award in honor of her life of advocacy for youth; and she was honored on the cover and in the pages of VOYA after her death in December of 2011. Dorothy defended the right to speak and the right to read no matter the age and no matter the content. For that she truly is a hero for intellectual freedom.
Just as Dorthoy Dee Ann Venuto is a Librarian at Rancocas Valley High School in New Jersey. (Shown here on the left) During her tenure as school media specialist she was confronted with a challenge to three of the books in the schools library collection.
The books were: Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology; Love and Sex: 10 Stories of Truth; and The Full Spectrum: A New Generation of Writing About Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Other Identities. Beverly Marinelli, an activist in the 9.12 organization stated, “We decided to see if these books (Revolutionary Voices, Love and Sex, and the Full Spectrum) were here, and, lo and behold, they were,” Marinelli said. “There’s stuff that’s appropriate for children and stuff that’s not. People wish to distract from the real issue by going into the 9.12 thing.” You might never have heard of the 9.12 organization. It was started in 2009 by Glenn Beck in an attempt to bring people back to the feeling of unity they had after September 11th, or 9.12. The group states 9 principals and 12 values that represent the ideas of America. Ms. Marinelli called the book, “pervasively vulgar, obscene, and inappropriate.” The 9.12 group demanded not only that the books be removed, but wanted information on who had purchased the books and why.
The website “Safelibraries” with their tag line that they are….blasted Dee Venuto views and tagged their article with her as, “School Media Specialist Passes Sexual Content Review to Students; Dee Venuto Says It Is Discrimination to Keep Children From Material Including Lengthy, Vivid Descriptions of a Ménage a Trois.” The crux of the article was that Venuto has overstepped her bounds in asking for students opinions on what books to purchase.
Dee Ann Venuto reached out to ALA and was greeted with the full backing of the ALA Intellectual Freedom department, who sent several letters and calls of support to the School Board. At the School Board hearing the books were reviewed and members of the community spoke. Eventually, the School Board unanimously decided to remove the book Revolutionary Voices from the library shelves while keeping the other two. The 9.12 group saw this as a partial victory. The board said, “We felt, from an obscenity perspective, there were some things our children didn’t need to see,” he said. “We don’t allow our children to curse in school, and we don’t think this is something we should be promoting in the school.” The book was banned for pornographic and inappropriate content. Eileen Cramer, a mother and graduate of the high school said at the meeting stated, “It’s a parent’s responsibility to monitor what their children are reading, not to tell other children what they can and cannot read,” Venuto said of the decision….
While this book banning was a loss for intellectual freedom fighters, what is more shocking is the reaction at the neighboring library.
In a series of emails between librarians at the Burlington County Library, it was quietly discussed how they could cause their own copy of Revolutionary Voices to disappear in order to avoid the same publicity. Without a complaint filed against the library, without following its own reconsideration policy, Revolutionary Voices was removed from Burlington County shelves.
Upon reading the book Revolutionary Voices a reader said “My friends and I passed around a single copy of this book for weeks… I was fascinated and relieved that there were other people out there who shared elements of my identity. At the same time, it was really important for me as a pretty sheltered young person to see that I was by no means identical to other LGBTQ youth, that there was a wide diversity of voices within the community. This was an illuminating and strengthening part of the book for me.” This sentiment is echoed by Brandon Monokian who began a project entitled Revolutionary Readings, where theatre group members would perform parts of the book at coffee shops, stores, and eventually, even in libraries. Youtube video: 16-2:413:30-4:38
Dee Venuto has listed on her school media’s website the values she follows in her library. She has created a Prezi presentation outlining the entire book banning ordeal, in attempt to promote her students into thinking about their intellectual freedom.
A 2009 survey found that 70% of the school librarians interviewed said that they would not purchase a book based on a possible reaction from parents. Book challenges, like the one Dee Ann Venuto faced create an environment where librarians feel like they should self censor themselves and their purchasing decisions…….. Venuto advocates a strong selection policy, to combat many of the challenges, including knowing your resources at the American Library Association and the National Coalition Against Censorship. A response from one of her students, “Fights for your right to read what you want. She&apos;s a great librarian!.......
Another librarian who convinced people to fight for their rights is Juliette Hampton Morgan. Juliette was an advocate for racial equality in the midst of the civil rights movement in Montgomery, Alabama. She earned a BA in English Literature from the University of Alabama, graduating at the top of her class in 1934. She came from a very wealthy family that had a long history in the south, including an ancestor who was a Confederate general and another who was a Georgia state senator. Although she was surrounded by white privilege, she was also exposed to the harsh realities of racial inequality. Juliette suffered from anxiety attacks that made it impossible for her to drive. She took the bus instead and it was during her rides on public transit that she learned the truths that her friends and family members chose to ignore.
Every day Juliette watched as bus drivers refused to pick up African American riders, verbally abused them, threw their change on the floor, and forced them to ride at the back of the bus. In a letter she argued that she couldn’t understand why people who paid the same fare as she did could be treated so inhumanely. In one particular instance, Juliette finally saw too much. She watched a bus driver take a woman’s fare then force the woman to exit the bus and reenter in the back. Although she couldn’t understand it, this was a common occurrence. But this time, the driver did not allow the woman to reenter. As soon as the woman stepped off the bus, the driver began to drive away. Juliette pulled the emergency cord and demanded that the driver let the woman on. She had already paid her fare and the driver had no right to keep her off. That bold step became a catalyst for Juliette. From then on she would demand fair treatment and interfere every time she witnessed injustice on her bus route. She also began to exercise her first amendment rights by writing letters to local newspapers describing the injustices and demanding change.
Juliette’s activism angered many of her friends and family members. Her neighbors thought she was mentally unbalanced, and her mother believed she was ruining the family name. Bus drivers and fellow riders began to mock and tease her so that often she would just get off the bus and walk. She sought comfort in a multiracial women’s prayer group although the group was barred from most churches in the area. During this time Juliette was working as an assistant librarian at a Carnegie library in Montgomery. The Mayor of Montgomery urged the board of trustees to fire her for her radical behavior. Although the board refused, the library director warned her that more letters could put an end to her career.
In 1956, the University of Alabama, Juliette’s alma mater admitted its first black student, Autherine Lucy, seen here on the left. Students rioted, burning crosses all over the city and Autherine was expelled. Despite the warnings about her job, Juliette would not be silent. When a local newspaper editor wrote a piece denouncing the violence and calling on local officials to institute peace and justice, Juliette wrote a note echoing his sentiments. The mayor once again demanded that Juliette be fired. When the board once again refused, citing Juliette’s first amendment rights, he called on residents to boycott the library and tear up their library cards.
On July 16, 1957 Juliette’s heroic life ended tragically. Amidst the boycott of the library, a neighbor burned a cross on Juliette’s front lawn. This gesture proved too much for Juliette’s delicate mental state. She resigned from the library the next day and used sleeping pills to take her own life. But even in death Juliette’s legacy lived on and her fellow librarians continued to demand equality. Five years later Juliette’s library became an integrated library and opened its doors to all citizens regardless of race or skin color. In 2005 Juliette’s efforts were honored and she was inducted into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame and shortly after Montgomery’s central library was renamed the Juliette Hampton Morgan Memorial Library in her memory.
E.J Josey has been a librarian and member of the American Library Association for almost 50 years. He has contributed to the rights and empowerment of, not only African American librarians, but to the benefit of all librarians.
Much like Julitte Morgan, EJ Josey lived in a time of racial striffe. He says, “I was born and grew up in the days of segregation in the kind of society that not only dehumanized me as an African American but dehumanized my family and all African Americans.Those of us who grew up in this kind of society had to fight to be recognized.” In 1936, the American Library Association met in Richmond Virginia--at the time E.J Josey was only 12 years old so he did not attend! African Americans were allowed to attend but only conditionally. They would not be allowed to eat meals with other librarians or register at the same hotels that other white librarians were at. They could attend ALA sessions, but would be segregated in the hall.
A number of state level associations still denied African Americans the right to become members. During the 1964 ALA convention E.J Josey would recall, “&quot;Much to my chagrin, the Mississippi Library Association was honored there for its National Library Week Activities. I exploded! I was seething with anger, for I remembered that three civil rights workers-Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Micheal Schwerner had been murdered and lay dead and buried somewhere in Mississippi, their bodies not yet discovered. I also remembered that the Mississippi Library Association had withdrawn from ALA rather than give membership to Negro Librarians.&quot; It was at this conference EJ Josey authored a new resolution. American Library Association officers would not be allowed to participate in state association events and meetings if those associations denied acceptance to African American members. Because of this many associations with closed doors became inclusive, and E,J Josey became the first African American member of the Georgia Library Association.
E.J Josey founded the American Library Associations Black Caucus in 1970, this organization finally gave a voice to the African American minority. While segregation was no longer an issue racism still existed. EJ Josey says “Comparing the problems of today with what transpired in the early years of my career and before, in those days all of us--including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.-looked at segregation as the enemy and the real evil. But I think that if Dr. King were living today, he would agree with those of us who say that racism is the real evil. Jim Crow did end, but the evil of racism remains.”
Overseeing the ALA President nomination committee E.J Josey saw an opportunity to unify for a stronger collective. Because the American Library Association had more to offer African American librarians, more and more of them began to join, ALA needed a leader to reflect this growing sector of librarians. Clara Jones, became the first African American ALA president. The 1976 conference saw her pass a new resolution in an effort to combat racism and sexism in libraries. The next year, the Intellectual Freedom Committee thought her resolution conflicted with the Library Bill of Rights. In response Clara Jones said, &quot;The resolution on racism and sexism awareness is not burdened with repression,&quot; she said, &quot;it is liberating. If the resolution is imperfect, try to make it perfect. But not by destroying it first.&quot; Her statement solidified the importance of fair and equitable treatment for all librarians.
In 1984 E.J Josey became president of the American Library Association…...Glydon Greer, who helped create the Coretta Scott King award worked closely with EJ Josey to help bring to light the merits of an award that recognized the work of African American writers.
E.J Josey’s leadership helped further the rights of minority librarians. He took the struggle internationally, and fought for the rights of people who were struggling everywhere. He has been honored with numerous awards, including the ALA Joseph W. Lippincott award, which stated, “His fervent advocacy was a major factor in eradicating racial discrimination from many library facilities and services, and from a number of professional associations. As founder of the Black Caucus in ALA, and as its leader throughout the group&apos;s formative years, he gave a new strength, unity, purpose and hope to many minority members of our profession.&quot; He says in his book, The Black Librarian in America, “Black librarians were unseen, unheard, and unknown; white librarians in our country had ignored or did not consider them vital to the operation of libraries in America. There was no sensitivity to the role that black librarians played.” E.J Josey’s legacy is that of an intellectual freedom fighter who fought for equality and for a strong unifying voice for African American Librarians.
Francoise Beaulieu-Thybulle was the Director of the Bibliotheque Nationale d’Haiti for some thirty years and was the director during Haiti’s earthquake and aftermath. Beaulieu-Thybulle is a Columbia University educated woman who has worked at a high level of library administration in Haiti since the 1980s. Because of Haiti’s geographical location, Beaulieu-Thybulle was prepared for natural disasters like hurricanes, so when the earthquake hit on January 12, 2010, Beaulieu-Thybulle was ready for it and donned a hardhat, getting straight to work.. The amount of information in English for Beaulieu-Thybulle is limited and may be out of date: in 2012, she was accused of diverting 20 thousand dollars in funds from the American Library Association, though I have not determined how much of a foundation this accusation has.
Haiti’s main library building in Port-Au-Prince had little damage aside from books shaken from stacks and fallen shelves, but the school next door collapsed and several people died. The historical building housing Haiti’s historical documents was heavily damaged. Meanwhile, prior to the earthquake, Haiti had only 16 libraries to serve a national population of 10 million, but when the earthquake hit, many branches of the library were heavily damaged. Some branches of the library were destroyed, and for many, the local libraries were the only inexpensive source of books and internet for miles around. http://www.ifla.org/news/news-and-developments-regarding-libraries-in-ha-ti
Because Haiti had only 16 libraries, the earthquake’s destructive force was enormous. The population of Haiti depends heavily on libraries for the internet and free books. While the National Library survived the earthquake, other branches of the library did not, as you can see from these photographs of libraries in Petite Goave and Pyepoudre. Beaulieu-Thybulle and her colleagues worked to salvage what they could from the wreckage by dusting off books and setting up temporary library shelters in the camps that sprang up when homes were destroyed in the earthquake. http://www.ala.org/offices/iro/iroactivities/haitirelieffund
A great deal of aid came from both local and distant sources. On the left is Deborah Lazar, librarian at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, who helped to raise funds for the new building in Petite Goave. On the right is one of the tent libraries that sprang up in the camps after the earthquake hit. Fundraising was made easy when people were able to text donations to various aid organizations, and fundraising for libraries was made easy in the same way. Over three years later, the American Library Association still has a code that can be used to text funds to a relief organization for Haiti’s libraries. (Text “alahaiti” to #20222). Other ways of providing aid are still available as well. http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/article/library-community-rallies-aid-earthquake-stricken-haiti
One of the organizations instrumental in making books available to children who have been displaced by the earthquake is Libraries Without Borders (Bibliotheques sans Frontieres), which pioneered an 18 month long project to provide portable library “kits” or recreational spaces for books and for children in camps. Aid for the earthquake has been available with many different groups of people stepping up to help Haitian people overcome the earthquake’s destruction and continues to be something that we can all work on. http://www.bibliosansfrontieres.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=155:la-boite-a-histoires-creation-de-kits-bibliotheques-jeunesse-pour-les-enfants-des-camps-de-deplaces-en-haiti&Itemid=316
“Educating people and politicians about who
controls public libraries. Citizens should, not
the American Library Association. If your
local library is applying ALA policy instead of
local law/policy, learn what can be done to
“It would be convenient if we could look at
these books and simply discuss whether or
not they are obscene. However, we cannot
overlook that the motivation behind the
request to remove these titles has other
social and political implications,”--Dee
Venuto, head librarian at the Mount Holly
One, two, little libraries
"How can we grab the books so they never, ever get back into circulation
(sic)...Copies need to totally disappear (as in not a good idea to send copies
to the book sale)."
--Gail Sweet. Librarian. Burlington County Library.
In the Instructional Media Center we offer each student access to a variety of
materials for both personal and educational needs.
THE EIGHT CENTRAL VALUES OF LIBRARIANS
Stewardship: the preservation & care of the human record
Service: professional & philanthropic, dedicated to human advancement
Intellectual Freedom: resist censorship, grant materials available
Privacy: ensure confidentiality
Rationalism: organize materials in a logical manner; apply rationalism to
Commitment to Literacy & Learning: encourage lifelong learning &
provide literacy education
Equity of Access: ensure access, overcome barriers to use
Democracy: maintain democratic values, participate in educational process
In a 2012 interview Venuto said, “ Given the sensitivity of the situation, people are choosing sides and
some members of the board are none too happy with me. At present, I know this challenge has
negatively affected my level of job and life satisfaction.”
“So what happens if we use our collections and have nothing that interests or pertains to today's
young adults? How will we encourage the use of libraries?”
Clara Stanton Jones:
First African American ALA President
"The spirit of the "Resolution on Racism and Sexism Awareness" is not
ALA’s 101st president, appointed in 1984
Led the ALA delegation of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions,
held in Africa.
Started in 1970 the Coretta Scott King, which recognizes outstanding African American authors
and illustrators, became an official ALA award in 1982.
Appointed more minorities to ALA committees than anyone else. “I wanted to show that they
could all do excellent jobs if given the opportunity.”
Each of these
from different times
and angles, has had
an indelible impact on
free information for
the public and youth
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Bibliotheques sans frontieres (2010). La boite a histoires - kits bibliotheques jeunesse pour les
enfants des camps de desplaces en haiti. Retrieved from
Auguste, M. (2012). Voya’s guide to intellectual freedom for teens. VOYA Press: Bowie, MD.
Cadet, J. (30 April, 2012). Vingt mille dollars détournés à la Bibliothèque nationale d’Haïti. Le Matin.
Retrieved from http://www.lematinhaiti.com/contenu.php?idtexte=30326.
Casseus, J. (2011) Haiti societe: pour le respect des cadres d’administration. Haiti Press Network.
Goldberg, B (2010). Library community rallies to aid earthquake-stricken haiti. American Libraries.
Retrieved from http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/article/library-community-rallies-aid-earthquake-stricken-haiti
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Dorothy M. Broderick
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Online. Retrieved from http://www.ftrf.org/members/?id=15163870
Preer, J. (2008). Library Ethics. Libraries Unlimited: Westport, CT.
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Chute, E. (2009) Obituary: E.J Josey/ Pushed for integration of library work force. Pittsburgh PostGazette. Retrieved from
Kniffel, L. (2009). A Tribute to E.J. Josey. American Libraries, 40(8/9), 29-30.
Auguste, M. (2012). Voya’s guide to intellectual freedom for teens. VOYA Press: Bowie, MD.
American Library Association (2013). Frequently challenged books of the 21st century. Retrieved
American Library Association (2013). Office for intellectual freedom. Retrieved from
American Library Association (2009). Judith krug, tireless advocate for first amendment rights dies.
Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/news/news/pressreleases2009/april2009/oifkrug.
Chicago tribune. (18 September, 2002). Top defender of right to read. Retrieved from
Juliette Hampton Morgan
Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame (2005). Juliette Hampton Morgan (1914-1957). Alabama Women’s
Hall of Fame Online. Retrieved from http://www.awhf.org/morgan.html
Montgomery City-County Public Library (1999). Montgomery City-County Public Library Online.
Retrieved from http://www.mccpl.lib.al.us/montgomery/index.asp
Southern Poverty Law Center (2005). Juliette Hampton Morgan: A white woman who understood.
Teaching Tolerance. Retrieved from
Stanton, M. (2008). Juliette Hampton Morgan. Encyclopedia of Alabama. Retrieved from
Dee Ann Venuto
American Library Association. (2011) The State of America’s Libraries. Retrieved from
Flood, A. (2010) School bam pm gay anthology challenged by US free speech organizations. The Guardian. Retrieved from
Hill, R.(2010) The Problem of Self-Censorship. School Library Monthly. 27no2 p.9-12 Retrieved from
Osborne, J. (2010) Burlington County (NJ) school board bans book on homosexuality. PFLAG of Bergen County, New Jersey.
Retrieved from http://www.bergenpflag.com/burlington-county-nj-school-board-bans-book-on-homosexuality/
Sheehan, B.(2012) Banned book raises free speech questions. Respect: A newsletter about law and diversity. Vol. 11 no2.
Retrieved from http://www.njsbf.org/images/content/1/1/11455/Respect%20winter%202012.pdf
Venuto, D. Rancocas Valley Regional High School. Retrieved from http://www.rvrhs.com/apps/pages/index.jsp?
Venuto, D. (2012) Book Challenge: Information regarding the book banning at RVRHS. Prezi presentation. Retrieved from