Freedom to Read Foundation 2022 Election Results
For Immediate Release
Freedom to Read Foundation
CHICAGO-The Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF), a non-profit legal and educational organization affiliated with the American Library Association dedicated to protecting and defending each person’s First Amendment right to read, concluded its annual election on May 1, 2022. FTRF members elected four new members to its Board of Trustees and re-elected one incumbent board member for two-year terms that begin on June 23, 2022. Since 1969 FTRF trustees, staff, and members have worked to protect First Amendment rights through education, litigation, and advocacy.
“As Americans, we cannot take our First Amendment rights for granted. Our right to free speech and our right to read are being challenged daily in all parts of the United States. We welcome the strong leaders who have been elected to the FTRF Board and join with them to support, defend, and advocate for our First Amendment rights and assure intellectual freedom, equitable access, and the freedom to read for all members of our communities,” said current FTRF President Barbara Stripling.
Newly elected trustees include:
Jarrett Dapier is new to the Freedom to Read Foundation Board but has volunteered as a speaker for their graduate course collaboration for a number of years. “I am interested in being a part of the FTRF board because of the vital, crucial work this body does to protect the right of all Americans to read. This right is currently under widespread assault from a variety of groups all working in concert to control schools, teachers, and librarians - all professionals who are trained to provide students with accurate information about our world, its history, and its art. I am a tireless advocate for free expression and the right to read and I don't let things go easily, especially when youth rights are violated,” said Dapier. Dapier has worked at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of IL on the First Amendment Rights Project, and since 2009 in public libraries where he adapted and directed stories about censorship to the stage with teen performers. He is also the author of the picture book Mr. Watson's Chickens, which is currently being challenged for removal at a public library in Spanish Fort, Alabama.
Jennifer Griswold is the Director of the Pflugerville Public Library in Pflugerville, Texas. She ran for a seat on the Board of Trustees to challenge censorship both locally, and on the national level. She has worked at Pflugerville since 2006 as the Reference Librarian, Assistant Director, and for the past six years as Library Director. Her background is also in news research and academic librarianship. In 2018 Griswold was awarded the honor of being Texas Librarian of the Year, and she is a current member of the Texas Library Association Queers and Allies Roundtable; the Ethnic and Multicultural Exchange Roundtable, the ALA Intellectual Freedom Roundtable, and the staff liaison for the Pflugerville Equity Commission.
“Libraries in Texas are on the frontlines of the censorship battle. Area directors meet to discuss the issue, those who are experiencing challenges, and those who are policing themselves out of fear. I believe I can offer a unique perspective not only from myself, but also my colleagues who are involved in active challenges,” said Griswold.
Pat Scales is a retired middle and high school librarian and a returning FTRF trustee.
“Book censorship is at epidemic levels, and America’s youth are the target. FTRF promotes and defends students’ right to read, but now, more than ever, the young need to be guided and taught to advocate for themselves. Proactively involving youth in defending their First Amendment rights assures a new generation of free speech advocates and could inoculate them against falling victim to a virus called censorship,” said Scales.
She is a free-speech advocate and is the author of Teaching Banned Books: 32 Guides for Children and Teens, Protecting Intellectual Freedom in Your School Library and Books Under Fire: A Hit List of Banned and Challenged Children’s Books. She writes a bi-monthly column, Scales on Censorship, for School Library Journal, and is a regular contributor to Book Links magazine. She has also served as a member and chair of the ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee.
Professor Sophia Sotilleo is an Associate Professor and the Interim Library Director at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania for the Langston Hughes Memorial Library. In this capacity, she has the privilege to teach Information Literacy across all subject areas and works with the Library Team to support and ensure that the Library is a part of the Lincoln University curriculum and co-curriculum strategic plans for student success. Her current area of research and interest is in Embedded Librarianship, with a focus on access, advocacy, and leadership in the field of Librarianship.
“I am interested in serving on the Freedom to Read Board to support the work of an organization that defends and promotes the rights of libraries to ensure access to books and information. Working as a librarian at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), serving first generation college students, I see daily the importance of having access to various types of books that not only educate, but also empower and encourage our next generation of leaders. The freedom to read foundation continues to do an amazing job at defending and supporting access to information and I look forward to serving with the organization in this inspiring and important work.”
Re-elected for a second term:
Loida Garcia-Febo is a Past President of the American Library Association, a current member of the FTRF Executive Committee, and is looking forward to continuing the work she started by Co-Chairing the FTRF Social Justice and Intellectual Freedom Task Force which resulted in the development of various lines of action and a forthcoming two-day FTRF symposium about the topic. Garcia-Febo has served as Chair of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Intellectual Freedom Round Table, long-time active REFORMA (the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking) liaison to the FTRF, and an Officer of International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions Advisory Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (IFLA's FAIFE). She is committed to serve diverse communities and to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion achieving joint historical signatory commitment from US library associations to EDI on which they are building new strategies to serve libraries and library workers. “I am eager to continue serving and working together with the FTRF Trustees to continue protecting and defending the First Amendment to the Constitution,” said Garcia-Febo.
For photos of the newly elected members, please visit https://bit.ly/3a7Cq23
The Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) is led by a board of fifteen trustees. The term for an elected trustee is two years, and board members may serve two consecutive terms. Trustees meet at least twice a year in conjunction with the ALA conferences or professional development events and hold virtual committee meetings throughout the year. If you are interested in working with the Freedom to Read Foundation visit us at www.ftrf.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to become involved.