Thank you for being a member of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table. Thank you for putting your time, your attention, and your membership funds toward an area of librarianship that is receiving attention for all the wrong reasons.
I wish we could spend our time philosophizing about the theory of intellectual freedom and appreciating the many ways this concept is built not just into our profession, but into our society. I wish we could take opportunities to delve deeply into the corners of intellectual freedom that don't get our daily attention. Topics like the prisoner’s right to read, shield laws for journalists and broadcasters, linguistic pluralism, and net neutrality. I wish we weren't so exhausted by the onslaught of challenges, resignations, adverse legislation, and what feels like the never-ending flow of just generally bad news that we could spend time learning more about the depth and breadth of Intellectual Freedom and how it touches so many areas of our lives, personally and professionally.
Thank you for not turning away, for turning toward the challenge and toward this network of peers. I hope that you find IFRT to be a valuable connection point for you in the world of librarianship. I hope that someone finds you to be a friend and supporter as we stand together in the face of challenges to our most deeply held principles and beliefs in intellectual freedom.
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.
- Provides broad opportunities for ALA members to become involved in the support of freedom of access and freedom of expression in libraries
- Supports librarians involved in censorship controversies
- Monitors intellectual freedom developments affecting library and information services
- Provides a forum where ALA members involved in intellectual freedom activities on the state and local level can discuss programs, activities, and problems
- Organizes conference programs on topics related to intellectual freedom
The American Library Association (ALA) Council established the Intellectual Freedom Round Table in June 1973. At the 1973 Annual Conference in Las Vegas, IFRT was organized as the associations's membership-activity program for intellectual freedom. The activities of the round table supplement the OIF's educational program and offer opportunities for ALA members to become active in the association's intellectual freedom efforts.
The IFRT sponsors three intellectual freedom awards. The annual State and Regional Achievement Award, given by the IFRT since 1984, was revised in 1991 and replaced by the Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award in 2009. Formerly presented to a state intellectual freedom committee. the award has been expanded to include "state educational media association intellectual freedom committees, state intellectual freedom coalitions, legal defense funds, or other such groups that have implemented the most successful and creative state intellectual freedom project during the calendar year. The IFRT established the John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award for intellectual freedom, given annually in memory of the cofounder and first chairperson of the Round Table, "to honor notable contributions to intellectual freedom and demonstrations of personal courage in defense of freedom of expression." Biennially, the IFRT sponsors the Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award, presented for the best published work in the area of intellectual freedom.
Office for Intellectual Freedom
225 Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60601