Intellectual Freedom Award

Sponsored by ProQuest

Monetary Amount: $2,000 to the recipient, $1,000 to the school library of the recipient's choice

Deadline: The application for this award is currently closed.  The next award cycle will open on September 1, 2024, and will close on February 1, 2025. 


The Intellectual Freedom Award is given for upholding the principles of intellectual freedom as set forth by the American Association of School Librarians and the American Library Association.


  1. The recipient shall be a personal member of AASL.

  2. The recipient has not received another ProQuest, Inc. sponsored Intellectual Freedom Award in the same year.


The following criteria will be used in the selection process:

  1. The recipient shall meet at least one of the following criteria:
    • Has developed and implemented an exemplary selection policy/challenge procedure
    • Has developed an innovative information program on intellectual freedom.

    • Has upheld intellectual freedom principles in the face of a challenge.

    • Has contributed to the literature of the field (print or non-print).

    • Has been active in the establishment and/or continuation of a coalition relating to intellectual freedom at a local, state or national level.

  2. At least one supporting letter of reference must accompany the application form.  The reference must substantiate that the applicant has upheld the principles of intellectual freedom, and has met at least one of the criteria listed above. The letter must be submitted by one of the following:
    • District library supervisors.
    • State, county or district school superintendents or building principals.

    • State, district and local library organizations.

    • Directors of curriculum and instruction.

    • Directors of elementary and/or secondary education.

    • State school library supervisors.

    • Local school board members.

Nominations will be accepted by organizations or individuals.

Download Criteria & Rating Sheets pdf icon

Download Copy of Application 

* Please note: This downloadable version is for informational purposes only. All applications must be submitted online, via the Apply Now button that will appear at the top of the page when the next award season opens in early September.


Allison Cline email icon
Deputy Executive Director


Year Recipient School/Affiliation
2024 Cathi Fuhrman State College Area School District
State College, Pennsylvania

"I am honored to receive the AASL Intellectual Freedom Award and represent the tireless work school librarians face protecting students’ right to read. Thank you to Proquest for sponsoring the award and to PSLA, my co-chair Amanda Deck, and to Beth Shenefiel, who helped me establish our Intellectual Freedom Task Group. Their unending support has enabled me to advocate as an advisor, champion, and shield in the battle for our students’ access to books and information."


Amanda Jones

Live Oak Middle School
Denham Springs, Louisiana

2022 FReadom Fighters (Becky Calzada and Carolyn Foote)  
2021 no award given  
2020 (tie) Martha Hickson North Hunterdon High School
Annandale, New Jersey
2020 (tie) Donna Morris Daniel Boone Elementary
Richmond, Kentucky
2019 no award given  
2018 no award given  
2017 Amy Bradley Risley Middle School
Brunswick, Georgia
2016 no award given  
2015 no award given  
2014 Cathy Collins Sharon (Massachusetts) High School
2013 Rosalind Dennis DeKalb County (Georgia) School District
2012 no award given  
2011  Dee Venuto Rancocas Valley Regional High School
Mount Holly, New Jersey
2010 Karyn Storts-Brinks Knox County (Tennessee) School District
2009 no award given  
2008 Kristie Michalowski Magill Elementary School
Loganville, Georgia
2007 no award given  
2006 Catherine Crain Thompson Intermediate School
Houston, Texas
2005 Ann Ewbank Cholla Middle School
Phoenix, Arizona
2004 no award given  
2003 no award given  
2002 no award given  
2001 Dianne McAfee Hopkins University of Wisconsin-Madison
2000 Linda G. Cornette Dublin (Ohio) City Schools
1999 no award given  
1998 no award given  
1997 Ginny Moore Kruse Cooperative Children's Book Center
Madison, Wisconsin
1996 Ann K. Symons Juneau-Douglas (Alaska) High School
1995 no award given  
1994 Ruth E. Dishnow Texas Woman's University
Denton, Texas
1993 no award given  
1992 no award given  
1991 Neva Thompson Humboldt Unified District
Dewey, Arizona
1990 Linda L. Waddle Cedar Hills (Iowa) High School
1989 William A. Murray Jr-Aurora Public Schools
Aurora, Colorado
1988 Nancy Morena Kocurek Elementary School
Austin, Texas
1987 Gayle Keresey East Arcadia School
Riegelwood, North Carolina
1986 Carolyn Kellerman
Santa Fe High School
Santa Fe, New Mexico
1985 no award given  
1984 Vicki H. Hardesty Findlay High School
Santa Fe, New Mexico
1983 Pat Scales Greenville (South Carolina) Middle School
1982 Frances Dean
Plains (Texas) High School