Awards Administered by IFRT

John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award

Established in 1976, upon the death of John Phillip Immroth, this award honors the courage, dedication, and contribution of a living individual or group who has set the finest kind of example for the defense and furtherance of the principles of intellectual freedom.  The award consists of a citation and a $500 prize. 

John Phillip Immroth was a teacher, author, scholar, advocate, and defender of First Amendment rights.  He was the founder and first Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table in 1973.  His impact on the ideal of intellectual freedom and its practice was great. 

Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award

In the words of the ALA Memorial Resolution for Eli Oboler, passed at the 1983 Annual Conference, Eli "served the library profession with the highest distinction, as University Librarian at Idaho State University for over three decades, as member of ALA Council from 1951 to 1959 and again from 1977 to 1981, as president of the Pacific Northwest Library Association,... as president of the Idaho Library Association," and, most significantly, as "one of the profession's most eloquent champions of intellectual freedom... as a member of the Intellectual Freedom Committee, as chair of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and as a founder and vice-president of the Freedom to Read Foundation."  He was our "loyal gadfly," who "constantly and impatiently demanded the dismantling of all barriers to freedom expression."

His principal means of pursuing this noble task was his writing; he was prolific and eloquent author of hundreds of articles, reviews, and books, many of which have been and are destined to remain widely influential.  In the spirit of this achievement, this award is to be granted to what the selection committee judges to be the best published work in the area of intellectual freedom to appear in the two-year period ending in the December prior to the Annual Conference at which the award is granted.  The award consists of a citation and a $500 prize.

Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award (Formerly the State and Regional Intellectual Freedom Achievement Award)

The first Gerald Hodges Award will be given at the IFRT 40th Anniversary Celebration.  ALA Chapters (state, regional, and student), Divisions, Round Tables and Affiliates (including division affiliates) will be eligible for the award.  The Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award will recognize an Intellectual Freedom focused organization that has developed a strong multi-year, ongoing program or a single, one-year project that exemplifies support for Intellectual Freedom, patron confidentiality, and anti-censorship efforts.
 
From 1984-2009, the State and Regional Intellectual Freedom Achievement Award was given to the most innovative and effective intellectual freedom project covering a state or region. Projects could be one-time, one-year or ongoing/multi-year efforts. The award was underwritten first by SIRS, then by ProQuest/SIRS. 
 
Gerald Hodges joined the ALA staff in 1989 as Director of Membership Services and the Chapter Relations Office.  At his death in 2006, he was the Associate Director of Communications and Marketing, but his passion was still Intellectual Freedom and Chapter Relations.  Hodges willed a portion of his estate to establish the Gerald Hodges Fund in support of intellectual freedom. Memorial contributions to that fund also came from many friends and colleagues.  In 2013, it was decided that the most appropriate use of that fund would be to re-institute the former “State and Regional Intellectual Freedom Achievement Award” as the “Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award.”
 
The award consists of a citation and $1,000.