ALA Announces New Members of the Unite Against Book Bans Cadre for Proactive Advocacy Opposing Book Banning
For Immediate Release
Public Policy Associate
Public Policy & Advocacy
American Library Association
Today, the American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce the addition of five new members to the Policy Corps’ Unite Against Book Bans cadre: Kate Alderete, Carolyn Foote, Jamie M. Gregory, Tyler Hahn, and Jennie Pu.
Formed in March 2023, the cadre has worked in close coordination with the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) and the ALA Public Policy and Advocacy (PPA) Office to contribute to more than 60 virtual and in-person presentations about intellectual freedom and the research-based resources of the Unite Against Book Bans campaign, reaching thousands of librarians, trustees, and library advocates. Upcoming Policy Corps member presentations include “How to Be a Freedom Fighter” at SXSW EDU 2024 on March 5 and “Challenging Times: Unite Against Book Bans and ALA's Policy Corps” at the Public Library Association’s (PLA) 2024 Conference on April 3. In addition, cadre members contributed to dozens of blogs, articles and podcasts, and collaborated with numerous national and community organizations and forged significant partnerships in the library community beyond ALA. Since the cadre’s inception, the number of individuals who have joined the Unite Against Book Bans campaign to take action against censorship more than doubled.
“After nearly a year that has seen our activity grow and have impact, the cadre is excited to add these wonderful advocates who will strengthen and expand our capability to continue this essential work,” said ALA Senior Policy Fellow Kent Oliver, who is the lead facilitator for the effort. Oliver is also a member of the Freedom to Read Foundation Board of Trustees and former OIF Intellectual Freedom Committee chair. “Our current planning is focused on increased outreach beyond the library community, including work with Unite Against Book Bans partners and their affiliates.”
Learn more about the new members below:
Kate Alderete is the Deputy State Librarian for the State of New Mexico. She holds an MLIS from the University of Denver and a BA from the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada. She is a 2019 Policy Corps cohort member and member of ALA’s Committee on Legislation, and has participated in many state and federal advocacy projects via the New Mexico Library Association and ALA.
Carolyn Foote is a retired 29-year school librarian from Austin, Texas, a former English teacher, and one of the co-founders of the Texas grassroots FReadom Fighters, a group of librarians fighting censorship in Texas. Recognized as a White House Champion of Change for connected learning, her recent work has been honored with the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Intellectual Freedom Award, the ALA Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award, and the AASL Library Collaboration Award. She and her colleagues were also recognized by People Magazine as "Women Changing the World." Her career has been focused on advocacy, student voice, technology in libraries, and library design.
Jamie M. Gregory is a 19-year educator working as the Upper School librarian and journalism teacher at Christ Church Episcopal School in Greenville, SC. She contributed to OIF’s blog for almost 4 years and is heavily involved in advocating against censorship legislation in South Carolina with the South Carolina Association of School Librarians. Her awards include the 2022 ALA Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award and SC's Intellectual Freedom Award in 2023. She was also a recipient of ALA's I Love My Librarian Award in 2023, was the 2022 South Carolina School Librarian of the Year, and was named a 2022 Library Journal Mover & Shaker. Her chapter "South Carolina Joins the 'Banned' Wagon" was published in The Fight against Book Bans: Perspectives from the Field edited by Shannon M. Oltmann. She is the 2023-2024 South Carolina Association of School Librarians’ President-Elect.
Tyler Hahn is a library director in Northwestern Iowa. Having previously served as a college librarian and youth services librarian, he brings a wealth of experience to his current role. Tyler is recognized for his dedication to library services as the midwest representative for the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) as well as the Iowa Governor's STEM Council and being recognized as one of the state's "STEM Gems." Tyler is a tireless advocate for small and rural libraries, serving on the Iowa Library Association’s executive board and serving as co-chair for ARSL’s Advocacy Committee for several years. His interests focus on leveraging local networks to build community capacity, advocating for taxpayer education within public services, and library advocacy for small and rural communities.
Jennie Pu is the director of Hoboken Public Library. Under leadership, Hoboken became the first book sanctuary city in New Jersey, inspiring a statewide movement with nine other New Jersey libraries and municipalities following suit as book sanctuaries. As co-chair of the New Jersey Library Association Public Policy Committee, she is working with library leaders to advocate for statewide legislation protecting the freedom to read. She has held roles in arts and education including The Wing Luke Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, school libraries, and academia. A recognized civic leader, she is one of The Hoboken Girl’s Women to Watch 2024.
“ALA greatly appreciates the addition of these five knowledgeable and dedicated advocates against library censorship, as well as the tireless work of Policy Corps members and ALA colleagues,” said Larra Clark, interim director of PPA. “ALA looks forward to a 2024 with an ever-strengthening cadre to fight for the freedom to read and for libraries, library workers, and library values.”
The ALA Policy Corps was launched by PPA in partnership with 2017-18 ALA President Jim Neal and four ALA divisions: the American Association of School Librarians, Association of College & Research Libraries, Public Library Association, and United for Libraries.
Participants in the Corps focus on issues for which deep and sustained knowledge are necessary to advance ALA policy goals and library values among policymakers. In 2023, a group of these Corps members were recruited into the Unite Against Book Bans cadre.