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For Immediate Release

June 10, 2008

Christopher M. Finan receives Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award

CHICAGO –Christopher M. Finan has been chosen the winner of the Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award, presented by the Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) of the American Library Association (ALA). Finan was selected for his book “From the Palmer Raids to the Patriot Act” (Beacon Press Books, 2007).

The award is named for the late Idaho University librarian Eli M. Oboler—famed as a “champion of intellectual freedom who demanded the dismantling of all barriers to freedom of expression.” The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) of the American Library Association (ALA) presents the award every two years for the best published book.

“Christopher Finan demonstrates that free speech has had its share of ups and many more downs,” said Frederick J. Stielow, chair of the Eli M. Oboler Award Committee. “His highly readable journalistic account charts a tumultuous history from World War I into the immediate post 9/11 years. First Amendment principles were largely absent and the control shocking at the start of his narrative. They took time to evolve, but continued to suffer in a balancing act against calls for social order and fears of terrorism. His conclusion joins the spirit and concerns of the namesake of the Eli Oboler Award. Free speech can only survive through the determination of individuals and organizations to maintain the true ideals of America.”

In addition to being an author, Finan is president of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), the bookseller's voice in the fight against censorship. He has been involved in the fight against censorship since 1982 and is chair of the National Coalition Against Censorship and a trustee of the Freedom to Read Foundation.

Formal presentation will be at the IFRT Awards Reception on Saturday, June 28, at the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif.

For more information, see the award Web site at