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Roll of Honor
Lucille C. Thomas2007 recipient - Past President, Brooklyn Public Library
Judith F. Krug1995 recipient (deceased) - FTRF Executive Director from 1969 founding to 2009

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Read the latest news about FTRF and the First Amendment in Libraries and engage with thoughtful opinions from leaders in our community on The FTRF Blog. If you are interested in writing for the blog, please email Jonathan Kelley at


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Hope Operas in Arlington, VA supporting FTRF

Posted By Jonathan Kelley, Monday, October 20, 2014

"Doing Good by Doing Theatre" is the motto for Hope Operas, a unique event in Arlington, Virginia at which local theatre folk write and stage five plays each fall.  The plays are serialized, and run during Mondays in October - and each play benefits a different charity.  One of the plays, "The inTell Heart," benefits the Freedom to Read Foundation.

This year's theme is "District of the Damned."  The penultimate performances are tonight, with the series finale next Monday.  Admission to each week's show is $15, and at the end of each night the audience votes on which charity they want to support.

Here are the playwright and director of "The inTell Heart" discussing their show and why they support the Freedom to Read Foundation.  Thanks to Catherine, Kristy, and Hope Operas for their creativity and generosity!


Tags:  Hope Operas 

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Banned Books Week in review: a Google Hangout - 10/22

Posted By Jonathan Kelley, Friday, October 17, 2014
Updated: Thursday, October 16, 2014

On Wednesday, October 22, please join the Freedom to Read Foundation and other sponsors of Banned Books Week for a look back at some of the fun, provocative, and engaging events that celebrated our freedom to read.

The "hangout," an online event, will be at noon Eastern time and can be accessed on the Banned Books Week YouTube page. No registration is necessary, but you can RSVP on Google+ and Facebook.

Speakers include:

  • Susan Brown, Director, Chapel Hill Public Library & creator of "Banned Books Trading Card" project
  • Catherine Aselford, Executive Director, Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association & coordinator of "Banned Books Week Survivor"
  • Julie Zaveloff, Technical Services librarian, and Dana Knott, Library Coordinator (Delaware Campus), Columbus State Community College and co-creator of "Which Banned Book Are You?" online quiz
  • Nanette Perez, Program Officer, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom
  • Moderator: Jonathan Kelley, Program Officer, Freedom to Read Foundation

The speakers include recipients of Banned Books Week grants from FTRF's Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund.

Bring your questions and ideas for how you can make Banned Books Week 2015 a great event in your community!

The Hangout will be recorded and available on the Banned Books Week YouTube page.

Tags:  Banned Books Week  Judith Krug Memorial Fund  online learning 

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FTRF files suit against Arizona nude image law

Posted By Jonathan Kelley, Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Yesterday, the Freedom to Read Foundation joined several other organizations and bookstores in filing a lawsuit in federal court against Arizona House Bill 2515, which makes it a felony "to intentionally disclose, display, distribute, publish, advertise, or offer a photograph, viodeotape, film or digital recording of another person in a state of nudity or engaged in specific sexual activities if the person knows or should have known that the depicted person has not consented to the disclosure."

The suit asserts that the law violates the First Amendment, in that it is overbroad, vague, not narrowly tailored to achieve its stated goal, and is a content-based restriction on constitutionally protected speech.  Read the full complaint here.

The law, whose putative target is "revenge porn" (that is, the malicious online posting of explicit photos by aggrieved ex-lovers), in fact cuts a much broader swath: the complaint lists a number of every day situations in which libraries, booksellers, journalists, artists, and others could be prosecuted for distribution of protected speech that is historic, educational, artistic, and/or newsworthy in nature.

The suit, Antigone Books v. Horne, was coordinated by Media Coalition and the ACLU.  Media Coalition has created a wonderful Q&A that explains the case and discusses the reasons for the lawsuit and the law's problematic reach.  Included in that is this, specifically regarding the concerns of librarians:

Q7: What can booksellers and librarians do to comply with the law?
A: The threat of going to prison means every bookseller and librarian is responsible for every book, magazine newspaper and video they carry. To follow the law, they would have to review each picture in every book and magazine they carry, which would be an almost impossible task. They would also have to determine whether each picture violates the law, without knowing the circumstances surrounding each photograph. Many booksellers and librarians will decline to carry material that includes nude images, rather than risk prosecution, even though they have a constitutional right to sell this material.

The law also affects their customers and patrons. If booksellers and librarians are forced to remove any material that includes a nude photo, customers and patrons are deprived of their right to purchase and borrow these materials. That means you would not be able to purchase an issue of National Geographic at the bookstore and you won’t be able to borrow art books that include nude images from the library.

The ACLU also has an excellent blog post explaining plaintiffs' objections to the law.  There has been extensive media coverage already of this case: 

Joining FTRF as plaintiffs are five Arizona booksellers (including Antigone Books), the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, the National Press Photographers Association, and Voice Media Group, publisher of the Phoenix New Times and other alternative newspapers.

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Check out these Krug Fund-sponsored Banned Books Week 2014 events!

Posted By Jonathan Kelley, Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Banned Books Week starts Sunday, and FTRF members and supporters are encouraged to check out some of these events from the 2014 recipients of grants from the Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund.  Follow the links for many more great events from these sponsors!  All events are free and open to the public.

To learn about other events in your area, and to tell people about your own events, visit the Banned Books Week calendar.

Alexandria, VA: Library Survivor interactive game. Saturday, Sept. 27, 2:00 p.m. The Athenaeum, 201 Prince St. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association.

Library Survivor is a game where we pretend that the library is on fire and the trucks are loaded with books! Five books remain but there is only room on the truck for one more book. What book will we choose to save? Five banned books (played by five actors) will defend their importance to you, the audience, who will decide their fate!

Chicago, IL: Banned Chicago! Panel Discussion. Wednesday, Sept. 24, 5-7 p.m., John T. Richardson Library 1st floor Learning Commons. Sponsored by the DePaul University Library and the University Center for Writing-based Learning.

This year, Banned Books Week celebrates graphic novels and comics, frequent targets of censorship due to their visual nature. Hear from authors, artists, readers, librarians and activists at our panel discussion. Featuring:

  • Student members of 451 Degrees, Lane Tech College Prep High Schools banned book club and Chicago Public Schools recent challenges to Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  • James Klise, librarian & author of Love Drugged and The Art of Secrets
  • Aaron Renier, comic artist and lecturer in DePaul's College of Computing and Digital Media

(Reception to follow event in JTR 115)

Raleigh-Durham, NC: 30th Annual North Carolina Pride Festival. Saturday, Sept. 27, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Duke University East Campus, Durham. Display sponsored by the LGBT Center of Raleigh Library.

Under the Center’s tent, the Library will display banned LGBT‐themed books as a reminder of our First Amendment rights and to draw attention to the harms of censorship. An official Banned Books Week event.

Columbus, OH: Open Mic Reading. Friday, Sept. 26, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., Multimedia/TV Studio, Columbus Hall first floor. Sponsored by Columbus State Community College.

The Library will be hosting a banned books-themed reading and open mic. The reading will be emceed by Associate Professor, Ann Palazzo, in partnership with the Columbus State English Department. We would like this reading to provide students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to share poetry or other creative works that explore such concepts as censorship, intellectual freedom, and banned books. Light refreshments will be provided. 

Also check out their Buzzfeed listicle & Pinterest boards - one on graphic novels & comics, one on banned book-themed films!

Pittsburgh, PA: 2014 fREADom. Monday, Sept. 22, 7:00 p.m. Jewish Community Center, Robinson Building, Katz Auditorium, 5738 Darlington Road, Squirrel Hill. Sponsored by the ACLU of Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh personalities and performers will read from their favorite banned or challenged works.


  • Charlie Batch, former quarterback- Pittsburgh Steelers/founder- Best of the Batch Foundation
  • Paul Guggenheimer, host, WESA’s “Essential Pittsburgh”
  • Dan Kamin, world-renowned mime
  • Alan Olifson, comedian, host of Moth StorySLAM Pittsburgh
  • Hope Academy of Music and the Arts, arts education outreach program for youth
  • Vanessa German, poet, performer, photographer, sculptor and activist

Plus - Banned Advertising! Images and clips from ads that some folks thought you shouldn’t see!

Charleston, SC: Charleston Read-Out, Monday, Sept. 22, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, 161 Calhoun St.  Sponsored by Charleston Library Friends.

Featuring writers and artists reading from their favorite banned books. Presenters to include: Marcus Amaker, Herb Frazier, Sharon Graci, Bret Lott, Theodore Rosengarten, Joy Vandervort-Cobb, Marjory Wentworth, and Katherine Williams.

Tags:  Banned Books Week  BBW2014  Judith Krug Memorial Fund 

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FTRF provides course scholarships to two LIS students

Posted By Jonathan Kelley, Thursday, August 07, 2014
Berenice Prado MendozaThe Freedom to Read Foundation is pleased to announce the two recipients of scholarships to attend "Intellectual Freedom and Censorship," an online course offered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Graduate School of Library and Information Science (Illinois GSLIS) in collaboration with the Freedom to Read Foundation.  Berenice Prado Mendoza (left) is a student at Emporia State University and Jamie D. Carlstone (below) is at Dominican University.

The scholarships are provided via FTRF's Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund.  

Jamie D. CarlstoneAs part of its sponsorship of the course, FTRF will provide all enrolled students with a copy of the book True Stories of Censorship Battles in America's Libraries, edited by Valerie Nye and Kathy Barco. FTRF is also participating via guest lectures by staff, trustees, and volunteers and providing material from its archives of Judith Krug's lectures and interviews.  The course will be taught by Illinois GSLIS Professor Emily Knox.

The course is available to any LIS student and we are excited the course will include participants from multiple institutions. Registration in the course has been extended to Friday, August 15 for anyone interested.  For more information, visit

Congratulations to the two recipients, and many thanks to everyone involved in the course and scholarship process!

Tags:  Berenice Prado Mendoza  Intellectual Freedom and Censorship  Jamie D. Carlstone  Judith Krug Memorial Fund  online learning  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

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