IFRT, FTRF and UIUC iSchool Honor Intellectual Freedom Award Winners at Virtual Celebration featuring Banned Author Kyle Lukoff

For Immediate Release
Wed, 05/26/2021


Kristin Pekoll

Assistant Director

Office for Intellectual Freedom

American Library Association



The ALA Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT), the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF), and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) iSchool invite library professionals and the public to a free virtual celebration for their intellectual freedom award winners on Thursday, June 24th 2021 at 5:00 p.m. CT.

Julius C. Jefferson Jr., ALA President and former FTRF President, will open the celebration with a talk highlighting the value of intellectual freedom awards in the profession and in our culture. 

Following the presentations, award-winning banned author Kyle Lukoff will present a celebratory keynote speech. Lukoff is a children's book author, school librarian, and former bookseller. He is best known for the Stonewall award-winning When Aidan Became a Brother and Call Me MaxCall Me Max gained attention when parents in Texas complained about the book being read in an elementary school classroom.  A Utah school district also canceled its equity book program after the book was read to third graders.

The award recipients honored at the virtual celebration include:

  • Kelley Allen, the recipient of the 2020 FTRF Roll of Honor for her work in providing substantial financial support for the foundation. 
  • Connecticut Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee, 2020 recipient of the Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award for identifying emerging issues with LinkedIn Learning and initiating a national conversation with the profession on the topic of privacy and the appropriate use of patron information.
  • Amy Dodson, 2020 recipient of the UIUC iSchool's Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award for supporting the value and necessity of equity, diversity, and inclusion as a part of her library’s mission and service. 
  • Martin Garnar, 2021 recipient of the John Philip Immroth Memorial Award for his active leadership in the ALA intellectual freedom community.
  • Rebecca Ginsburg, 2020 recipient of the John Philip Immroth Memorial Award for championing the fight to restore access to books in the Education Justice Project and raise awareness of prison censorship by creating the Freedom to Learn Campaign.
  • Robie Harris, recipient of the 2021 FTRF Roll of Honor for her decades of writing comprehensive and accessible books for children and young people and championing their right to accurate and truthful information about health, sexuality, human reproduction, and strong emotions.
  • Missouri Library Association, 2021 recipient of the Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award for their effective response to Missouri House Bill No. 2044, known as the “Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act”.
  • Henry (Hank) Reichman, 2020 recipient of the Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award for best published work in the area of intellectual freedom, The Future of Academic Freedom.

Register online to join us in recognizing these award recipients and the organizations that strive to educate and raise awareness of intellectual freedom. 

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit ala.org.

About the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) iSchool

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) iSchool is one of the premier LIS programs in the nation. The iSchool offers students advanced degrees with areas of specialization including data curation, digital libraries, social and community informatics, socio-technical data analytics, and youth services as well as continuing professional development opportunities. It is one of a small percentage of LIS programs that offer a designated course on Intellectual Freedom. 

About the Freedom to Read Foundation

The Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) is a non-profit legal and educational organization affiliated with the American Library Association.  FTRF protects and defends the First Amendment to the Constitution and supports the right of libraries to collect - and individuals to access - information.

About the Intellectual Freedom Round Table

The Intellectual Freedom Round Table 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.