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.
The Oboler 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.
The Oboler Award is administered by the Oboler Committee which recognizes the importance of published works in the area of intellectual freedom.
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. This biennial award was given first at the 1986 Annual Conference in New York, for writing which appeared in print in the two years 1984 and 1985.
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).
Postmark deadline for 2022 nominations: December 1, 2021. The 2022 award is for work published between 2020 and 2021.