State and Regional Achievement Award winner named

Contact: Don Wood


For Immediate Release

April 17, 2002

State and Regional Achievement Award winner named

The LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund will receive the SIRS State and Regional Achievement Award presented by the American Library Association (ALA) Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT).

The award, funded by SIRS Mandarin, Inc., consists of a citation and $1,000. It recognizes innovative and effective intellectual freedom projects.

The LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund is being honored this year because it offers financial grants to librarians who have been discriminated against, threatened with loss of employment or discharged because of their stand for the cause of intellectual freedom. Founded in 1970 in honor of Dr. LeRoy C. Merritt, a library school faculty member and dean who was a vigorous defender of intellectual freedom, the Fund has provided over $80,000 in grants to support librarians in their fight for professional integrity.

"We cherish what the Fund accomplishes and we feel that being recognized with the SIRS Award will let even more people know that the Fund is ready to help them if they get in trouble as a result of defending the First Amendment," said David Cohen, LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Senior Trustee.

Cohen also thanked SIRS Mandarin, Inc. saying, "The Fund is supported entirely by donations and contributions from concerned groups and individuals, so the $1,000 that accompanies the award - as well as the publicity! - will let us assist even more librarians in the future."

Elizabeth Dailey, chair of IFRT's SIRS State and Regional Intellectual Freedom Achievement Award Committee, will present the award to Cohen on Saturday, June 15, at 1:30 p.m., during the IFRT program at the ALA Annual Conference in Atlanta.

The Merritt Fund is governed by a board of three trustees who are elected to three-year terms by donors of the Fund. This year's trustees are Cohen, June Garcia and Francis J. Buckley, Jr. For more information on the award, see or on the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund, see