Freedom to Read Foundation staff, and a few trustees, were excited to be in Kansas City last week for the terrific 2nd Joint Conference of Librarians of Color. Between the provocative programs - including one featuring FTRF Executive Director Barbara Jones that discussed challenges to books by authors of color, as well as the Tucson Unified School District book removal situation - and the other great events (particularly the opening reception at the fabulous KC Public Library), it was a wonderful experience.
On Friday, FTRF sponsored a reception at which we met dozens of librarians, many of whom were already members (or fans) of the Freedom to Read Foundation, and quite a few of whom were hearing about FTRF for the first time. Barbara and newly elected Vice President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr. both talked about how important FTRF is to the library and reading communities, and encouraged attendees to become members and help spread the word.
Also on Friday, FTRF cosponsored with REFORMA a "50 for Freedom of Speech" Read-Out that brought attention to the Tucson situation and featured readings from many of the books that were removed from classrooms when the Mexican American Studies program was shut down. A full house heard selections that both celebrated Latino culture and heritage and encouraged thoughtful reflection - the very point of Read-Outs.
We look forward to more of these events at conferences and other gatherings across the country in the coming months. Stay tuned to this blog and/or our Facebook page and Twitter feed to find out when and where we'll be - and if you know of events you think we should be at, please let us know!