Freedom to Read Foundation Gala honors Banned Books Week founder Judith Krug, McCormick Freedom Museum

Contact: Deborah Caldwell-Stone

Acting Executive Director

Freedom to Read Foundation



For Immediate Release

July 7, 2009

Event speakers include Judy Blume, Scott Turow, Gretchen Helfrich

CHICAGO - The Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) will celebrate its 40th Anniversary at a gala dinner on Sunday, July 12, in Chicago at the new Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. The event will honor the FTRF’s visionary founder Judith Krug and Chicago’s McCormick Freedom Museum, which strives to educate the public about the Bill of Rights and individual freedoms. Krug will also be honored posthumously with the William J. Brennan Award, presented by the Thomas Jefferson Center. Â

Judith Fingeret Krug, served as the director of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom and executive director of the Freedom to Read Foundation for more than 40 years. Krug was also the founder of Banned Books Week, an annual observance that encourages the nation to celebrate the freedom to read.

Krug was admired and respected for her efforts to guarantee the rights of individuals to express ideas and read the ideas of others without governmental interference.

Scott Turow, author of seven best-selling novels, including Presumed Innocent and Burden of Proof, will serve as the Gala’s featured speaker. His non-fiction works include One L, about his experiences as a first year law student, (a text that is still used in law schools), and Ultimate Punishment, a reflection on the death penalty that garnered Turow the 2004 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.Â

Acclaimed young adult author Judy Blume will deliver a special address. Blume, whose children’s and young adult books are frequently among the most challenged and banned books in the country, is the author of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Blubber, Tiger Eyes, Forever and many other timeless works. Â

Gretchen Helfrich, former host of public radio’s Odyssey show will serve as the evening’s emcee. FTRF Board members Robert P. Doyle (Executive Director of the Illinois Library Association) and Burton Joseph (Joseph, Lichtenstein & Levinson) are co-chairs for the 40th Anniversary Gala.

The Freedom to Read Foundation was founded in 1969 by a group of librarians, lawyers, and other individuals committed to protecting and preserving First Amendment freedoms in our libraries and schools. Since its founding, the Foundation has provided legal resources to libraries and librarians fighting to preserve the freedom to read in their communities and helped to advance First Amendment freedoms for every citizen. Among its major victories is the decision securing full First Amendment protection for the Internet; other court victories across the country have returned books to library shelves and preserved free inquiry in school libraries. For more information on the FTRF please visit .

The McCormick Freedom Museum is the nation's first museum dedicated to freedom and the First Amendment. Its mission is to inspire generations to understand value and protect freedom. For more information on the McCormick Freedom Museum please vist .