Jamie M. Gregory Receives IFRT Oboler Memorial Award
For Immediate Release
Intellectual Freedom Round Table
American Library Association
The American Library Association's Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award is presented each year for an excellent work in the area of intellectual freedom.
The 2022 award cycle marked a change for the Oboler Award. Starting this year, articles and books will be considered in alternating years. This change reflects the different scope of work and content that is required for varying publication types. This year, only article submissions were considered. Works to be considered for the award could be single articles (including review pieces), a series of thematically connected articles, or a similar work published on the local, state or national level in English or English translation. Next year, the awards committee will consider to books. Books published in 2021 and 2022 will be considered for the 2023 award. Submissions for either type of work may be submitted at any time and will be considered during the next appropriate cycle.
This year's winner is Jamie M. Gregory. Ms. Gregory is National Board Certified Teacher in Library Media working as the Upper School Librarian and journalism/newspaper teacher at Christ Church Episcopal School in Greenville, SC. She writes blog posts for the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom's Intellectual Freedom Blog.
"With many outstanding articles or groups of articles having been submitted, choosing a winner was difficult," said Michael Blackwell, Chair of the Oboler Award Committee. "Not only the number of challenges but the organization with which those challenges have been brought make 2022 perhaps the most disturbing year for Intellectual Freedom advocates in living memory. Attacks on reading at, and sometimes by, school boards, local and state legislatures, and even by federal legislators, especially on works for by and about People of Color and LGBTQ+ individuals, often with disinformation and outright hate, foreshadow a new era of repression that must be fought if we are to provide safe and culturally responsive spaces. Ms. Gregory's writing takes us to the frontline of these challenges, pointing out the specific threats, interviewing leaders and especially young people being threatened by efforts to suppress their rights, revealing the injustice. She offers inspiring thoughts on why we must resist and practical advice on how we may yet prevail. Hers is an important chronicle of our time."
Said Ms. Gregory upon receiving the news "I am incredibly honored to receive this recognition from the Intellectual Freedom Round Table. Numerous state legislatures and local school boards are twisting the meanings of intellectual freedom and free inquiry, and I feel honored to be given space by the Office for Intellectual Freedom to explore these issues and make information available to those who dedicate themselves to ensuring the continuation and enforcement of students’ access to information and free exchange of ideas. The goal is that by ensuring these rights, students will learn how and be motivated to contribute to our national conversation themselves as active, informed citizens."
Ms. Gregory's work may be found at Intellectual Freedom Blog. She will receive her award, including a $500 stipend, at the 2022 ALA Annual Conference in Washington D.C.
Members of the Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award Committee are: Chair Michael Blackwell, St. Mary's County Library; Molly Dettmann, Norman Public Schools; Eldon (Ray) James; Michael Kirby, Kingsborough Community College; Carole Nowicke, Ivy Tech Community College; and Amanda Vazquez, Dubuque County Library District.
The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) 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; promotes a greater feeling of responsibility in the implementation of ALA policies on intellectual freedom.