For immediate release | May 4, 2023

Intellectual Freedom Round Table announces Michigan Library Association as the recipient of the 2023 Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award

CHICAGO - The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) of the American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce the Michigan Library Association (MLA) as the recipient of the 2023 Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award.

The award will be presented at Unite Against Book Bans! A Rally for the Right to Read: Uniting for Libraries & Intellectual Freedom at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, 6:00-8:00pm Thursday, June 22, 2023.

In Spring 2022, MLA's Intellectual Freedom Task Force launched MI Right to Read (pronounced “My Right to Read”) to form a coalition of librarians and concerned citizens with a shared goal of protecting intellectual freedom and responding to censorship attempts.The MI Right to Read initiative currently has 1,500 individuals and over a dozen partner organizations, and their contact list reaches more than 5,000 advocates. MI Right to Read disseminates Michigan news and educational information through its website, contact lists, and social media, providing instructions and materials for promoting the values of intellectual freedom and protecting the freedom to read. Resources available include social media post templates, letters to the editor examples, public speaking scripts and tips, and guidelines on starting a local advocacy group.

MLA’s ongoing initiatives including the MI Right to Read coalition, Intellectual Freedom Toolkit, intellectual freedom messaging center and hotline, advocacy resource fund, free advocacy hours and webinars, and intellectual freedom training for library directors and board members. MLA has shared the structure of the MI Right to Read site with other chapters to build their own pro-library coalitions.

The Hodges Award recognizes an organization that has developed a strong multi-year, ongoing program or a single, one year project that exemplifies support for intellectual freedom, patron confidentiality, and anti-censorship efforts. The award is named after Gerald Hodges, an ALA staff member from 1989 to 2006. Chapter relations and intellectual freedom were his passions and he willed a portion of his estate to support those efforts. The award consists of $1,000 and a citation and has been given since 2013.

Members of the Coalition Building Committee are: Chair Eldon Ray James, retired researcher; Dr. Jennifer Steele, The University of Southern Mississippi; Matthew Sylvain, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth; and Rebecca Moorman, University of Alaska Anchorage.

The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) provides a forum for the discussion of activities, programs and problems in intellectual freedom of libraries and librarians; serves as a channel of communications on intellectual freedom matters; promotes a greater opportunity for involvement among the members of the ALA in defense of intellectual freedom; promotes a greater feeling of responsibility in the implementation of ALA policies on intellectual freedom.


Karen Gianni

Program Coordinator

Office for Intellectual Freedom