The LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund was established in 1970 as a special trust in memory of Dr. LeRoy C. Merritt. It is devoted to the support, maintenance, medical care, and welfare of librarians who, in the Trustees’ opinion, are:
- Denied employment rights or discriminated against on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, color, creed, religion, age, disability, or place of national origin; or
- 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, the freedom of librarians to select items for their collections from all the world’s written and recorded information, and defense of privacy rights.
Donate to the Merritt Fund
Visit Give ALA online
Click the ALA Offices tab
Then go to OIF (acronym for Office for Intellectual Freedom)
And find the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund
To donate by mail
Send checks, payable to The Merritt Fund
LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund
50 East Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611
Note: The Merritt Fund is supported solely by donations and contributions from concerned groups and individuals. Contributions to the Merritt Fund are not tax-exempt, because they are used to give direct aid to individuals without reference to Internal Revenue Service requirements regarding tax-exempt organizations. Hence, contributions do not qualify as personal tax deductions for donors.
Apply for Assistance
Applications for assistance are strictly confidential, as are the identities of grant recipients.
The Merritt Fund trustees ask that recipients repay their grant to the Merritt Fund at such point that their financial situation allows them to do so. This way, the Merritt Fund is able to continue to help librarians in need despite limited resources.
Applications for assistance can be sent to:
LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund
50 East Huron
Chicago, IL 60611
Or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Douglas Archer, Peace Studies, Global Affairs and Political Science Librarian, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN. email@example.com
Julia Warga, Director for Research and Instruction at Kenyon College, Gambier, OH. firstname.lastname@example.org
Nancy Carol Kranich, Lecturer Library and Information Science, Rutgers School of Communication and Information, New Brunswick, NJ. email@example.com
OIF Staff Liaisons
Merritt Fund Secretary
Who Was LeRoy C. Merritt?
Dr. Merritt, who died in 1970, was one of the library profession’s staunchest opponents of censorship and one of its most vigorous defenders of intellectual freedom. Graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1935 with a B.A. and a certificate in librarianship, Dr. Merritt received a Ph.D. in librarianship from the University of Chicago in 1942. His diversified career included working at the Milwaukee Public Library, serving as a librarian at Longwood College, and participating in a Special Services project for the Armed Forces during the Second World War, From 1946 until 1966, Dr. Merritt served on the staff of the University of California School of Librarianship at Berkeley. He was appointed Dean of the School of Librarianship of the University of Oregon in Eugene in 1966.
Dr. Merritt published many articles on intellectual freedom and was perhaps best known to fellow-censorship foes for his editorship of the American Library Association’s Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, which post he held from 1962 until 1970. In 1970 H.W. Wilson published his book, Book Selection and Intellectual Freedom.
For his outstanding accomplishments in the field, Dr. Merritt was selected in 1969 as the first recipient of the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award. True to his principles, he immediately forwarded the entire cash award of $500.00 to the Freedom to Read Foundation, becoming the Foundation’s first benefactor.
"Merritt Fund Aids a Colleague in Distress" American Libraries. 2012.
"Carol Brey-Casiano Tells a Patriot Act Story" American Libraries. 2010.
"Merritt to the Rescue" Interview with Mimi Davis by Melora Ranney.
The LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund supports librarians who are facing financial difficulty due to discrimination or because they have taken a stand in support of intellectual freedom. In this video, trustees describe the fund, and why it's needed. (2008)
Former ALA President Carol Brey-Casiano discusses how the Merritt Humanitarian Fund helped her fight unjust accusations in the wake of the September 11 attacks, as well as the Merritt Fund's upcoming 40th anniversary celebration, to be held June 28 at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. (2010)
Every three years, the Merritt Fund produces a report to allow supporters to learn more about the finances of the Fund, the size of the membership, and the grants given (while keeping personally identifiable information private).
- Merritt Fund Three-Year Report, 2009-2011 (PDF)
- Merritt Fund Three-Year Report, 2006-2008 (PDF)
- Merritt Fund Three-Year Report, 2003-2005 (PDF)
- Merritt Fund Three-Year Report, 2000-2002 (PDF)