ALA receives $380,000 Grant from the Ford Foundation to support intellectual freedom and advocacy efforts

Contact: Lainie Castle

Asst. Director, Development


For Immediate Release

April 20, 2005

ALA receives $380,000 Grant from the Ford Foundation to support

intellectual freedom and advocacy efforts

(CHICAGO) The American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce that it has received a grant of $380,000 from The Ford Foundation. This funding will be used over a two-year period to support three major ALA initiatives that will support intellectual freedom and advocacy efforts.

"This generous grant from the Ford Foundation comes at an important time for libraries and the ALA," said ALA President Carol Brey-Casiano. "We are delighted to have the Foundation's support to pursue these timely projects concerning privacy rights, intellectual freedom and library advocacy."

The grant will support two research studies that will be administered through ALA's Washington Office that will gauge the frequency with which federal law enforcement have contacting libraries since the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, and the types of contacts being made. The results of this initiative will be compiled in the form of a research report and will prove useful to policymakers, academics, journalists, and legislators who wish to understand the impact of the PATRIOT Act on libraries.

The second initiative encompasses "Lawyers for Libraries" and "Law for Librarians." Lawyers for Libraries is a project to create a cadre of attorneys across the country committed to the defense of intellectual freedom in libraries. The goal of Law for Librarians is to provide librarians and trustees with legal fundamentals of the First Amendment, which gives users the right to read freely in libraries,and to create a means of enabling librarians to effectively partner with their legal representatives to defend against censorship. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom will administer this initiative.

The grant also will assist the ALA Public Information Office with the development of mini-Advocacy Institutes that will build on the Advocacy Institute held at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in January 2005. These smaller versions of the Institute will be developed for implementation at the grassroots level, and will be conducted in collaboration with ALA state and regional chapters.

Established in 1876, the American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world. Its mission is "to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all." For more information, visit

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than half a century it has been a resource for innovative people and institutions worldwide, guided by its goals of strengthening democratic values, reducing poverty and injustice, promoting international cooperation and advancing human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Russia. For more information, visit