Freedom to Read Foundation announces 2023 Election Results
For Immediate Release
Assistant Program Director
Freedom to Read Foundation
The Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) is excited to announce the results of the 2023 Board of Trustees election. FTRF members elected six trustees to its Board of Trustees for two-year terms that begin on Thursday, June 22, 2023. Freedom to Read Foundation President, Peter Coyl, shared this sentiment, "In a time of unprecedented attempts to remove books from libraries, the work of the Freedom to Read Foundation is more important and urgent than ever. We are grateful to all who stood for election and congratulate those who were chosen as Trustees. I have every confidence they will lead the Foundation in its mission to preserve and protect the right to read freely.”
The elected trustees are:
Stephanie “Cole” Adams has been elected to her second term as a Trustee. "The mission of the Freedom to Read Foundation has never been more important for libraries and the communities they serve. It is an honor to be a trustee as the Foundation works to protect everyone's right to read," said Adams, an attorney in New York. She regularly offers an “Ask the Lawyer” forum for libraries and museums through the regional library councils of New York, and has a unique window into legal issues that can impact the freedom to read.
Sukrit Goswami is the director of the Haverford Township Free Library in Pennsylvania, and has also been elected to his second term as an FTRF trustee. His first year as the FTRF board member, Sukrit co-chaired the FTRF committee that hosted a successful virtual symposium, “Where Intellectual Freedom and Social Justice Meet: A Call to Action.” "I am thrilled to be re-elected to the FTRF board. I look forward to continuing to work and stand up against censorship, and to advocate "free people read freely," for those without a voice, and for every person on this planet who is seeking any type of information through books and materials," said Sukrit.
Christine Kujawa is the Library Director at Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library, North Dakota. In 2023, she was involved in efforts to defeat two pro-censorship bills in the ND legislature and in 2012, Kujawa received the Gordon M. Conable Award. She served as North Dakota Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Chair from 2007-2012. “I’m honored to be elected to the Freedom to Read Foundation Board of Trustees. I look forward to working with the trustees to promote and protect freedom of speech and access to information,” said Christine.
James (Jim) Neal is University Librarian Emeritus at Columbia University and served there as Vice President for Information Services during 2001- 14. Jim is a previous board member of the Freedom to Read Foundation and the 2017-18 President of the American Library Association. Jim is the recipient of the FTRF Roll of Honor Award and the NYLA Intellectual Freedom Award. He was recently appointed by the White House to a five-year term on the National Museum and Libraries Services Board. “I am honored and excited to rejoin the FTRF Board. We are now at war to defend and advance the freedom to read, and the Foundation will continue to provide the education, advocacy, and legal challenges needed,” said Jim.
Kent Oliver is the recently retired director of the Nashville Public Library and a past President of the Freedom to Read Foundation Board. "It is an honor and pleasure to return to the Freedom to Read Foundation Board. We are living in a time when our freedom of speech and freedom to read are under intense organized suppression. As part of the FTRF Board I look forward to working to defend the constitutional rights of librarians, publishers and our Country's diverse communities,” said Oliver. He has also served on the ALA Council and the Executive Board.
Barbara Stripling is past-president of the American Association of School Librarians, the New York Library Association, the American Library Association, and the Freedom to Read Foundation. In 2021, under Barb’s leadership, FTRF trustees added the following to the FTRF statement of purpose: To maintain a commitment to the principles of Equality under the Law, Diversity, and Inclusion and support the right of libraries to collect – and individuals to access – information that reflects diverse voices. “I am honored to serve on the FTRF Board and look forward to our leadership in the crucial fight for First Amendment rights of everyone in our communities,” said Stripling.
Since 1969 FTRF trustees, staff, and members have worked to protect First Amendment rights through education, litigation, and advocacy. The Freedom to Read Foundation 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 email@example.com for information on how to become involved.