45 years ago today, the Freedom to Read Foundation articles of incorporation were filed in Illinois, establishing an organization that has in the intervening years provided essential help to libraries and librarians facing censorship challenges.
In celebration of today's anniversary, the ALA Archives (which houses FTRF's archives) put together a blog post discussing some of FTRF's founding and achievements.
The Freedom to Read Foundation’s first president was Alexander P. Allain, an attorney, and considered one of the 100 greatest library leaders. In the first newsletter put out by the Freedom to Read Foundation he outlined the Foundation’s goals:
For many years librarians have looked to the Library Bill of Rights for guidelines insuring intellectual freedom in materials selection. [...] It is, however, only a statement of principle. It has no standing in law. No “rights” accrue from it, even though it constitutes the library profession’s interpretation of the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution. The Freedom to Read Foundation believes the profession must now attempt to establish legal precedents, through case law, to make the Library Bill of Rights not only a statement of principle, but a principle grounded in law and protected and supported by the nation’s judiciary system. Only when this gain is made can librarians and library governing bodies face pressures to remove materials or to restrict selection, not only with “right” on their side, but with the law as well.
Thanks to the archivists for the help they've provided with the Freedom to Read Foundation archives, and for this post!