Jenna Freedman named Futas winner

Contact: Cheryl Malden
Program Officer
For Immediate Release
March 23, 2007

Jenna Freedman named Futas winner

CHICAGO - The American Library Association (ALA) has awarded the Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award to Jenna Freedman, coordinator of Reference Services at Barnard College Library in New York.

The Futas award, consisting of $1,000 and a 24 karat gold-framed citation of achievement, recognizes and honors a librarian who invests time and talent to make positive changes in the profession of librarianship by taking risks to further the case, helping new librarians grow and achieve, working for change within the ALA or other library organizations, and inspiring colleagues to excel or make the impossible possible.

In librarianship she found a career that not only accommodates political and social action but demands it. She has been influenced by many role models including her father Maurice (Mitch) Freedman and Kathleen de la Peña McCook.

Freedman is a change agent. She developed a 'Zine' Collection at Barnard and has spread the word nationwide to libraries about the value and importance of collecting zines. A zine is a self-produced, self-published and self distributed magazine type publication creatively expressing individuality and interest in a particular subject. Freedman writes her own zine: “Lower East Side Librarian Winter Solstice Shoutout Zine.”

The winner of Library Journal’s “Movers and Shakers” award, she initiated the movement to have a Library Workers’ Day which is now incorporated on Tuesday of National Library Week.

“Freedman knows how to work inside the association and outside it,” said Ann Sparanese, ALA Councilor. “She has a collaborative spirit with which she approaches almost every project. She is an inspiration for youthful librarians and older ones. Freedman's involvement in founding Radical Reference, a volunteer collective of library workers who believe in promoting social justice and equality epitomizes both Elizabeth Futas's legacy and the spirit of ALA's Award named in her honor.”

Radical Reference was launched in 2004 to support citizens and activists who were protesting the Republican National Convention in New York City. Radical Reference is now very well known among activist communities. Freedman’s work with the ALA Presidential Task Force on Better Salaries and her election as one of ALA's youngest ever Councilors is also notable, according to jury chair Charles Harmon.

“Jenna’s idealism, leadership, passion, and energy – both for the Radical reference project as well as for librarianship in general – has given many others a viable public outlet for their skills and passions, has inspired librarians, MSLIS students and the public to think differently about and expect more from libraries and their services, and has furthered the cause of libraries and librarians by making them more noticeable and accessible where the public least expects it but most needs our skills,” commented James Jacobs, past chair, Government Information Technology Committee and Shinjoung Yeo, chair, Committee on the Status of Women in Librarianship.

Members of the Elizabeth Futas Jury are Charles Harmon, Neal-Schuman Publishers, New York; Rory Litwin, University of Minnesota, Duluth; Patricia L. Owens, Canton, Pa.; Karen B. Ronald, Trumbull Library, Trumbull, Conn.; Ann K. Symons, Anglo-American School, Helsinki, Finland.

The 2007 Elizabeth Futas Catalyst For Change Award will be presented at the ALA Award Ceremony and Reception, Tuesday, June 26, during the ALA Annual Conference in Washington DC.

Freedman received her MA, Library and Information Science degree from the University of South Florida.

The deadline for submissions of applications for the 2008 Elizabeth Futas Catalyst For Change Award is December 1, 2007. Guidelines and application forms are available at