Freedom to Read Foundation awards seven Judith Krug Fund grants for Banned Books Week events

For Immediate Release
Thu, 09/09/2010

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CHICAGO – The Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF), via its Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund, is  awarding grants to seven organizations in support of “Read-Out!” events during Banned Books Week, Sept. 25-Oct.2, 2010.  Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to access information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship.

The Iowa City Public Library was named the recipient of the largest grant, of $2,500.  The grant from the Krug Fund will go to support a “Rolling Read-Out” during the University of Iowa’s Homecoming Parade, in addition to a "Read-Out!" on Sept. 30 and other events during the Carol Spaziani Intellectual Freedom Festival.

“It is wonderful to see how many libraries, schools, colleges and other organizations participate in Banned Books Week events,” said Kent Oliver, FTRF President. We’re thrilled to be able to assist a few of them in their events, bringing attention to the fact that there remain ongoing attempts to restrict others’ access to books. Their efforts will help continue Judith Krug’s legacy—protecting and celebrating the freedom we too often take for granted.”

In addition to the cash award, the Freedom to Read Foundation is providing Banned Books Week merchandise, sold by the American Library Association Store, to the grant recipients.  Many other Banned Books Week events around the country can be found at www.bannedbooksweek.org under “Events.”

FTRF initially had planned to make only one additional grant, for $1,000, but the impressive number and quality of the applications inspired the organization to increase the number of grantees.  The six organizations receiving $1,000 grants are:

ACLU of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh (Judith Krug’s home town), for the 15th “fREADom: A Celebration of the Right to Read” on Sept. 27.  Local personalities and performance groups will read aloud from banned/challenged books; additionally, there will be a Banned Songs Sing-Along.

Canisius College, Buffalo, N.Y., for “Read-Out! It’s Your Right.”  Monday through Friday during Banned Books Week, part of the library will become “Bughouse Square East,” in honor of Chicago’s famed free-speech zone “Bughouse Square” (now Washington Square Park, where the 2010 ALA "Read-Out!" will be held).  Readers will stand on soap boxes to read; lesson plans will be provided to local K-12 teachers; and exhibits on “Great Court Cases” and “Great Banned Books” will be mounted.

Dayton (Ohio) Metro Library – East Branch. This inner-city library will provide “Book Club in a Box” kits to local school libraries to study "The Giver," Lois Lowry’s classic book that has been frequently banned and challenged.

St. Catharine College, Ky., for its third annual "Read-Out!", Sept. 27-29.  Attendees will receive free Banned Books Week merchandise and can paint commemorative mugs inspired by the reading of banned and challenged books over three days.

Santa Monica (Calif.) Public Library, for “Join the Banned: Celebrate Your Freedom to Read” on Oct. 2.  This four-hour program will include authors, actors and other celebrities and community members reading banned and challenged books; a photo booth called “Get Booked,” where participants can get a mug shot-style photo with them and a banned book; an acting scene by local teens; and a closing concert by the Harry Potter-inspired band, The Remus Lupins.

Takoma Park Maryland Library, "Read-Out!" on Oct. 2.  This library has a “Banned Books Club” for middle and high school students and a “Junior Banned Books Club” for third-through-fifth graders.  The focus of their "Read-Out!" will be children’s and middle grade books, and the Krug Fund grant will allow them to purchase books to hand out to attendees, many of whom come from low-income families.

This is the first announced project for the Judith Krug Memorial Fund, established after Krug’s death in April 2009.  Krug was the founding executive director of the Freedom to Read Foundation, which was established in 1969 as a First Amendment legal defense organization affiliated with the American Library Association (ALA).  Krug founded Banned Books Week in 1982 in her capacity as director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom.

ALA will hold its annual "Read-Out!" in Chicago’s Washington Square Park on Saturday, Sept. 25.  Authors of some of the most frequently challenged books of 2009 have been invited to read from their works, including Lauren Myracle (the "TTYL," "TTFN," "L8R," "G8R" series). Award-winning (and frequently challenged) author Chris Crutcher will emcee the event.