Contact: Nanette Perez
Project Coordinator, OIF
312-280-4223
nperez@ala.org
For Immediate Release
March 30, 2007

The Connecticut John Does receive 2007 ProQuest-SIRS State and Regional Achievement Award

CHICAGO — Four Connecticut librarians known as the Connecticut John Does are the 2007 recipients of the ProQuest-SIRS State and Regional Achievement Award presented by the American Library Association (ALA) Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT).

The award, funded by ProQuest-SIRS, consists of a citation and $1,000 and recognizes successful and effective intellectual freedom coalitions or committees that have made a contribution to the freedom to read or to the intellectual freedom environment in which libraries function.

The Connecticut John Does are being honored for defending intellectual freedom when they challenged the constitutionality of National Security Letters (NSLs) and the gag provisions of NSLs issued under the USA PATRIOT Act.

The four librarians are George Christian (Executive Director of the Library Connection); Peter Chase (Director of the Plainville (Conn.) Public Library and Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee of the Connecticut Library Association); Barbara Bailey (Director of the Wells-Turner Memorial Library in Glastonbury, Conn.); and Janet Nocek (Director of the Portland (Conn.) Public Library).

In 2005, the “John Doe” librarians served as the Executive Committee of the Library Connection—a consortium of central Connecticut public and academic libraries sharing an automated library system and telecommunications network—when it was required by a National Security Letter to turn over patron information to the FBI.

“What these four people endured in order to protect free intellectual inquiry and patron privacy in libraries is amazing,” said Steve Norman, chair of the ProQuest-SIRS Award Committee. “They stood up against improper use of National Security Letters—and the gag order that prevented them from saying anything about it—and their lives were turned upside down for almost a year.”

The award will be presented to the Connecticut John Does during a special awards reception on Saturday, June 23, 2007, at Annual Conference in Washington, DC.

For more information on the award, see http://www.ala.org/ifrt/sirsproquest; for information on the Connecticut John Does, see:

USA PATRIOT Act: Doe v. Gonzales

http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/ifissues/usactlibrarians.htm

National Security Letters Misused

http://donwood.alablog.org/blog/_archives/2007/3/12/2799915.html

IFRT provides a forum for the discussion of activities, programs and problems in intellectual freedom. The committee serves as a channel of communications on intellectual freedom matters and also promotes a greater opportunity for involvement among the members of the ALA in defense of intellectual freedom.