For immediate release | June 15, 2022

Freedom to Read Celebration, Supporting the Merritt Fund, and Featuring Banned Author David Levithan

Join the ALA Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) and the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) along with banned author David Levithan, library professionals, authors, and friends for this 2022 Freedom to Read Celebration, Merritt Fund fundraiser, and reception. The organizations will honor the recipients of the FTRF Roll of Honor Award, John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award, Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award, and Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award.

We’re excited to have author David Levithan launch the evening by sharing his remarks, and experience, with intellectual freedom and censorship. David is a children’s book editor and the author of several books for young adults, including Lambda Literary Award winner Two Boys Kissing; Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List, and Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (co-authored with Rachel Cohn); Will Grayson, Will Grayson (co-authored with John Green); and Every You, Every Me (with photographs from Jonathan Farmer). David was named the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for his contribution to YA literature. His newest book, Answers in the Pages, was released through Penguin Random House in May. This title has a timely topic as it addresses speaking up and coming out as parents lobby to ban a beloved book from the school curriculum.

The following 2022 intellectual freedom award recipients will be honored at the event.

  • Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor Award recipient Eldon “Ray” James
  • John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award recipient Terri Lesley
  • Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award recipients Tennessee Library Association (TLA) and the Tennessee Association of School Librarians (TASL).
  • Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award recipient Jamie M. Gregory

Add the celebration to your Conference Scheduler.

RSVP to attend

Event Date: Friday, June 24th at 7pm - 8:30pm ET.

Location: Marriott Marquis, Univ of DC & Catholic Univ

Cost: Suggested Donation: $20.00 (checks and cash preferred) to benefit the Leroy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund (one free drink ticket included)

FTRF and IFRT wish to thank Penguin Random House for their generous sponsorship of the Freedom to Read Celebration.

About the Freedom to Read Foundation

The Freedom to Read Foundation has been working on behalf of librarians and others to protect the First Amendment for over 50 years. Because FTRF is a non-profit, the staff and trustees may also litigate on behalf of First Amendment issues, as well as educate and advocate. The FTRF board of trustees includes representatives from each of ALA’s roundtables. This ensures that librarians representing all forms of library work can bring their voices and concerns to FTRF and carry back valuable information.

About the Intellectual Freedom Round Table

The Intellectual Freedom Round Table of the American Library Association 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; and promotes a greater feeling of responsibility in the implementation of ALA policies on intellectual freedom.

About the Office for Intellectual Freedom

Established December 1, 1967, the Office for Intellectual Freedom is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Association’s basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials. The goal of the office is to educate librarians and the general public about the nature and importance of intellectual freedom in libraries.

About the Merritt Fund

The LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund was established in 1970 as a special trust in memory of Dr. LeRoy C. Merritt. It is devoted to the support, maintenance, medical care, and welfare of librarians who, in the Trustees’ opinion, are: Denied employment rights or discriminated against on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, color, creed, religion, age, disability, or place of national origin; or Denied employment rights because of defense of intellectual freedom; that is, threatened with loss of employment or discharged because of their stand for the cause of intellectual freedom, including promotion of freedom of the press, freedom of speech, the freedom of librarians to select items for their collections from all the world’s written and recorded information, and defense of privacy rights.


Kristin Pekoll

Assistant Director

American Library Association

Office for Intellectual Freedom