Freedom to Read Foundation mourns loss of library advocate Judith Krug

Contact: Judith Platt
Freedom to Read Foundation


For Immediate Release
April 13, 2009


CHICAGO – Judith Platt, president of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Freedom to Read Foundation has released the following statement on the passing of Judith Krug, director of ALA’s office for Intellectual Freedom.

“With Judith Krug’s death I lost a beloved friend. But I am not alone. Everyone who cherishes the right to read and to think and to speak freely has lost an irreplaceable friend.    Â

“In the coming days there will be many others to speak about her love of her profession. She considered librarianship to be the highest of callings and there is an entire generation of librarians out there whose commitment to intellectual freedom was forged and shaped by Judith Krug. But I am not a librarian. What brought us together was my work advocating for freedom of expression on behalf of the publishing industry, and when we first started working together Judith was already a legend. At library or free expression gatherings when I met people for the first time and was asked what I did, my shorthand reply was ‘I do for the publishers something along the lines of what Judith Krug does for the library community, but not nearly as well.’ This immediately established me as a fighter on the side of the angels but definitely not up to her status as an archangel!Â

“Judith had an abiding faith in the power of ‘the community of the book’ she was convinced that when librarians, publishers, booksellers, and authors stand together in defense of intellectual freedom we are unstoppable. She believed in our obligation to take on that fight wherever and whenever it arose, and more often than not she led the charge. Hers was the first voice raised in a call-to-arms against the Communications Decency Act and she was largely responsible for pulling together the coalition that challenged the CDA and won. I was with Judith in San Francisco the day the Supreme Court handed down its unanimous ruling and to call our celebration that evening ‘Bacchanalian’ would be an understatement. Judith’s was literally the first voice raised in warning against Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act and the threat it represented to reader privacy, and it is no accident that Section 215 came to be known as ‘the library provision’ (although nowhere in its language is the word ‘library’ mentioned). She considered it a badge of honor that former Attorney General John Ashcroft dismissed the protests of civil libertarians against the excesses of the Patriot Act as having been organized by ‘a bunch of hysterical librarians.’

“Judith Krug was the most courageous person I have ever known. She was my friend and role model. I am filled with gratitude that she was a part of my life, and I will miss her terribly.”

The Freedom to Read Foundation was established to promote and defend this right; to foster libraries and 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.

The Freedom to Read Foundation is a separate corporation from the American Library Association, working in close liaison with the ALA. The secretariat is located in the Office for Intellectual Freedom, ALA Headquarters.