List of legal & financial grant recipients
Through the provision of financial and legal assistance to libraries and librarians, the Foundation attempts to eliminate the difficult choice between practical expediency and principle in the selection and distribution of library materials. Persons committed to defending the freedom to read should be given an assurance that their commitment will not result in legal convictions, financial loss or personal damage.
Through fighting repressive legislation, the Foundation benefits all members of the library profession. Laws such as obscenity statutes can be significantly dangerous to individuals and institutions, for they may permit, and even encourage, prosecution of non-commercial interests which have neither the incentive nor the resources to defend the propriety of individual works.
Librarians should not be vulnerable to prosecution for disseminating works which the First Amendment entitles their patrons to receive. The denial of the basic rights of library patrons through censorship is not consistent with the philosophical basis of the library profession. The choice between censorship and criminal punishment is inimical to the concept of intellectual freedom, and a derogation of the responsibilities of librarians. The Foundation will challenge the constitutionality of those laws which can inhibit librarians from including in their collections and disseminating to the public any work which has not previously been declared illegal.
Also see: LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund