Karen MacPherson and Alanna Natanson to receive Immroth Award

Contact: Jen Hammond

OIF Program Coordinator

(312) 280-4223



For Immediate Release

May 12, 2009

CHICAGO – Karen MacPherson, the children and youth services coordinator at Takoma Park Maryland Library, and Alanna Natanson, a middle-school student in Takoma Park, Md., have been named recipients of the John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award, presented by the American Library Association (ALA) Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT).

The award, which consists of $500 and a citation, honors intellectual freedom fighters in and outside the library profession who have demonstrated remarkable personal courage in resisting censorship.

The Immroth Award Committee recognizes the two for organizing the Takoma Park Library’s Banned Books Club, a youth group of middle-school students who gather to read frequently challenged or banned books, like Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War and Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird
.” Natanson started the club because, she said, “there are a lot of people in [her] grade that are very mature for their age.” The club gives them a chance to read books with more mature themes than what they read in their classes. MacPherson, the librarian who leads the discussion, said that the list of books were all “books that kids would want to read.” The Intellectual Freedom Round Table honors Natanson for her interest in banned and challenged books and MacPherson for her commitment to organizing, coordinating and promoting the club. IFRT hopes that her “Banned Books Club” will start a trend in other middle schools and high schools nationwide.

The Award will be presented at a special reception on July 10 during the ALA’s Annual Conference in Chicago. For more information on the award, visit