For immediate release | May 1, 2023

Dr. Emily J. M. Knox receives Beta Phi Mu Award

CHICAGO — Dr. Emily J. M. Knox, Associate Professor in the School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has been selected as the 2023 recipient of the American Library Association's Beta Phi Mu Award. This annual award is given in recognition of a library school faculty member's achievement or another individual's distinguished service to education for librarianship. The award, which consists of $1,000 and a citation of achievement, is sponsored by the Beta Phi Mu International Library Science Honor Society.

Knox holds a Master’s in Library and Information Science from the iSchool at Illinois., and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University School of Communication & Information. She has an extensive record of scholarship and made a lasting impression as a leader, scholar, professor, mentor, and colleague.

Knox is known for thinking critically about issues that will impact libraries in the future —namely, intellectual freedom, accessibility, and diversity. She lends her voice to this canon in libraries across the country and in larger venues such as NPR, the Washington Post, and Slate.

Colleagues and students alike hold her advocacy and mentorship in high regard. Her students appreciate her ability to break down ethical issues related to policy and admire her perspectives on understanding the tensions between policy and justice. They view Knox’s classroom as a safe space to lend their voice to complex issues. Additionally, her colleagues admire her ability to balance administrative roles with classroom responsibilities.

Knox is equally skillful at engaging students and colleagues outside of the classroom and beyond the university. She held several leadership roles on the Beta Phi Mu International Society Executive Board and currently serves as chair of the National Coalition Against Censorship board. Emily is an Expert Advisor to the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE and the editor of the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy.

Knox's scholarship also focuses on advocacy and intellectual freedom. Her publications, which includes books such as “Foundations of Intellectual Freedom” and “Foundations of Information Ethics” and “Book Banning in the 21st Century America” collectively provide a road map for engaging and understanding issues that are critical to the field but also address broader issues of civil discourse in the United States.

The jury was impressed by Dr. Knox's leadership, commitment to advocacy, and willingness to work directly with future librarians to build their knowledge, skills, and professional awareness.

The annual award will be presented on Sunday, June 25, 2023, at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois.

The 2023 Beta Phi Mu Award Jury is comprised of Kristin Buxton, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon; Charles Kratz, Dean Emeritus, University of Scranton, Scranton, Pennsylvania; Nicole LaMoreaux, The New School: A University in New York City, New York, New York; Paul McMonigle, Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania; and Kimberley Bugg, Jury Chair, Atlanta University Center Woodruff Library in Atlanta, Georgia.

More information about the Beta Phi Mu Award, including how to submit a nomination, is available at the ALA website,


Cheryl Malden

Program Officer

American Library Association