Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award

Eli M. Obolre

The Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award honors a literary work or series of works, in the area of intellectual freedom, including matters of ethical, political, or social concerns related to intellectual freedom. Presented biennially.


"The Library Juice Press Handbook of Intellectual Freedom" named 2016 Eli M. Oboler Award winner

The Intellectual Freedom Round Table has announced the winner of the 2016 Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award, which recognizes the best published work in the area of intellectual freedom. The 2016 award goes to The Library Juice Press Handbook of Intellectual Freedom, edited by Mark Alfino and Laura Koltutsky. The publisher is the Library Juice Press.

In recognizing The Library Juice Press Handbook of Intellectual Freedom, the Oboler Award selection committee said it believed that the book was an enormous contribution to the existing literature and indispensable to a thorough discussion of the subject of intellectual freedom. The book looks at intellectual freedom from a wider range of theoretical perspectives and in connection with a wider range of cultural topics, under the premise that "thought and action about intellectual freedom needs to be informed by a broader and more complex range of topics and theoretical reflection than it typically has been." The 21 articles focus on topics including threats to intellectual freedom, academic freedom, the arts, the internet, censorship along with connections to contemporary social issues and institutions, and historical and cultural theories.

The Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award, which consists of $500 and a certificate, is presented for the best published work in the area of intellectual freedom. The award was named for Eli M. Oboler, the extensively published Idaho State University librarian known as a champion of intellectual freedom who demanded the dismantling of all barriers to freedom of expression. The award has been offered biennially since 1986.

The award will be presented at the IFRT Award Reception & Member Social at the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando in June.

The Intellectual Freedom Round Table is now accepting nominations for the 2018 Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award.

The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) provides a forum for the discussion of activities, programs, and problems in intellectual freedom of libraries and librarians; serves as a channel of communications on intellectual freedom matters; promotes a greater opportunity for involvement among the members of the ALA in defense of intellectual freedom; promotes a greater feeling of responsibility in the implementation of ALA policies on intellectual freedom.


The Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award, which consists of $500 and a certificate, is presented for the best published work in the area of intellectual freedom. The award was named for Eli M. Oboler, the extensively published Idaho State University librarian known as a “champion of intellectual freedom who demanded the dismantling of all barriers to freedom of expression.” Works to be considered for the award may be single articles (including review pieces), a series of thematically connected articles, books, or manuals published on the local, state or national level in English or English translation. Listing of past award recipients

Criteria

It must be an article (including a review article), a series of thematically connected articles, a book, or a manual published on the local, state, or national level, in English or in English translation. It need not have appeared in the "library press." It must have as its central concern one or more issues, events, questions, or controversies in the area of intellectual freedom, including matters of ethical, political, or social concern related to intellectual freedom. It must also be demonstrably relevant to the concerns and needs of members of the library community, including the worlds of publication (print and non-print) and communication. It must, in the opinion of the judges (which is final), meet high standards of literary quality, accuracy, and responsibility. The principal focus of evaluation will, of course, be the writing, but other considerations may, in the opinion of the judges be relevant. These may range from the use of particularly effective illustrations to recognition for the difficult nature of the background research or the subject itself, or for special courage or persistence displayed in writing and publishing the work. The work must have been published within the two-year period ending the December prior to the ALA Annual Conference at which it is granted. For example, the 2020 award will be granted to a work published in 2018 and 2019.

Sponsor and Deadline

The Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award is sponsored by the Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) of the American Library Association (ALA). The deadline for the biennial award is December 1, of odd-numbered years (e.g., the deadline for the 2024 award will be December 1, 2023).

Nominations

Download the Oboler nomination form. Nominations and supporting evidence should be sent to: Shumeca Pickett, ALA, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611. Telephone: 312-280-4220 or 800-545-2433, ext. 4220. Fax: 312-280-4227. E-mail: spickett@ala.org.