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2015 Election Statements of Interest
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Statements of Qualification and Concern from Nominees for the Board of Trustees, 2015–2017

Candidates for the Board of Trustees are required to submit a statement of no more than 150 words, indicating the candidate’s concern for intellectual freedom and his or her qualifications for office. The following statements are in alphabetical order.

J. Douglas Archer, Peace Studies, Global Affairs & Political Science Librarian, Hesburgh Libraries, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN

I have been an advocate of First Amendment liberties throughout my life as a librarian (freedom of speech and the press) and as an ordained minister (freedom of and from religion).  I have written, spoken and otherwise advocated for the freedom to read both locally as a long time member and chair of the Indiana Library Federation’s Intellectual Freedom Committee and nationally as an active member and chair of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT).  Having served as liaison to the Board of the Freedom to Read Foundation for IFRT and three terms as an ex officio member of the Board as chair of ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee, it would be an honor and a privilege to serve as an elected member of the Board.

Charles Brownstein, Executive Director, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, New York, NY

Intellectual freedom is central to the progress of our free society. Current attempts to censor or inflict terror on those who would speak freely make FTRF’s work more crucial than ever. 

As Executive Director of Comic Book Legal Defense Fund since 2002, I have devoted my career to defending the First Amendment and advancing education about the importance of free expression. During my tenure, the organization has achieved numerous legal victories, been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court, and has become a leader in education and advocacy for combating censor¬ship. CBLDF is a sponsor of Banned Books Week, and I am a member of the executive committee formed by ALA and other sponsors to coordinate the event’s planning. Each year I write and lecture extensively on free expression, addressing audiences across the United States and abroad.

It would be an honor to serve FTRF during this critical time for intellectual freedom.

John Chrastka, Executive Director, EveryLibrary, Berwyn, IL

I am most interested in building awareness for FTRF, and leveraging that awareness into increased support and resources. Whether it is working with donors, members, networks, or coalitions, my board service will be focused on helping the Foundation support libraries in their defense of First Amendment rights for all citizens. As a trustee at my local library, our policies about use, access, and collection development are built on FTRF’s historic advocacy work. I want to see that leadership extended for another generation. As a library stakeholder, I am concerned with the future of our public institutions. FTRF is uniquely positioned to create powerful coalitions where library access and intellectual freedom issues are at the center. I am passionate about the mission and work of FTRF, and would be honored to serve on the FTRF Board and contribute to the continued success of the Foundation.

John “Mack” Freeman, Marketing and Programming Coordinator, West Georgia Regional Library, Carrollton, GA

As FTRF’s 2014 Gordon Conable Scholar, I had an incredible introduction to FTRF and the IF community. As a result of your mentoring, I’ve been appointed to the 2016–2018 ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee.

Working with FTRF to strengthen its impact defending First Amendment issues means more to me than attending a meeting twice a year.  I don’t want to warm a seat; I want to work to further the cause. Going forward, my aspiration is to serve as an ambassador for FTRF in the South and to rural areas that are my special focus. Revitalizing passion for this core value across the region is my goal. Together, we need to help ALA and FTRF ensure that LGBT access remains open and that libraries are wel¬coming to all. These rights deserve advocates, and FTRF proudly fills this role. I know intellectual freedom will define my career. Thank you for your vote.

Alexia Hudson-Ward, Associate Librarian, Penn State University Abington, Abington, PA

I feel extremely honored to be nominated to serve on the Board of Trustees at this critical juncture in our nation’s history. Recent court cases and news stories highlight the inter-sectionality of diversity, access to information, and intellectual freedom. It is my desire to champion intellectual freedom as a critical diversity imperative and a vital cell in the lifeblood of our democracy. 

I became intimately involved with heralding intellectual freedom during my term as the Pennsylvania State ALA Chapter Councilor and as an ALA Executive Board member. These experiences provide me with the leadership and followership skills to foster organizational governance while infusing energy into grassroots advocacy plans. 

If elected, I commit to serve as an active thought leader and ground level advocate for intellectual freedom. I welcome the oppor-tunity to foster FTRF’s continuous momen-tum by promoting strategic legislation actions and communications processes to engage others in this important work. 

Jim Neal, University Librarian Emeritus, Columbia University, New York, NY

I have been an active member of the Foundation for the past decade, and have remained a vocal and energetic advocate for intellectual freedom in libraries and universi-ties. I launched and coordinated the organiza¬tional membership program which brought new revenues to the work of the Foundation. I encouraged Board focus on emerging issues and that is now a routine part of the deliberations. I served the Foundation as Treasurer to assure our financial strength. I had the privilege to provide the closing remarks at the FTRF 40th anniversary gala in Chicago, and to celebrate the remarkable leadership of Judith Krug.

Censorship and violations of privacy must be fought with vigor, and FTRF must continue to provide strong inspiration, direction, educa¬tion, and strategic legal action. “Freedom to” and “freedom from” have never been more at risk. I could make no more important pro¬fessional and civic contribution than service to the work of the FTRF.

Henry Reichman, First Vice-President/ Chair, Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, American Association of University Professors, Albany, CA

I recently retired after 26 years as professor of history at California State University, East Bay, but FTRF members may know me better as the editor since 1982 of ALA’s Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom and the author of Censor¬ship and Selection: Issues and Answers for Schools, published by ALA Books.  Now that I am no longer teaching, I’m concentrating my efforts on defending academic freedom and advocating for accessible, affordable and high-quality higher education as First Vice-President of the American Association of University Professors, Chair of AAUP’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure, and Chair of the Board of the two-year-old AAUP Foundation.  

AAUP and FTRF share common concerns and an additional link between the two will be mutually advantageous.  I hope to bring to the FTRF Board some of AAUP’s hundred years of experience and to encourage support for and membership in FTRF in the higher education community.  

Neil Richards, Professor of Law, Washington University School of Law, St. Louis, MO

I would be honored to serve on the FTRF Board. I am a lawyer and law professor at Washington University in St. Louis who has taught, written, and studied questions of free speech, privacy, and intellectual freedom for most of the past two decades. My academic and legal work has focused on what our civil liberties must mean as our society makes the transition to digital formats. I firmly believe that libraries and their commitment to the intellectual freedom of their patrons and staff have been and must continue to be an essential part of our society’s commitment to intellectual freedom. My recent book Intellectual Privacy (Oxford Press 2015) explains the importance of both free speech and privacy and argues for the importance of libraries to both of these traditions. I believe I have the skills and commitment to help the FTRF’s mission in protecting libraries and by extension intellec¬tual freedom for all.

Loriene Roy, Professor and Graduate Advisor, School of Information, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

I am honored to run for the FTRF Board of Trustees. Once librarianship adopted intellec¬tual freedom (IF) as a core belief, we found our philosophical footing. Together, we celebrate and continue to monitor and support everyone’s right to read. As ALA President-Elect, President, and Immediate Past-President, I served as an ex-officio member of the Board (2006–2008). I served on the FTRF 40th Anniversary Honorary Committee and as trustee/senior trustee/trustee emeritus for the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund (2010–2013). I give talks about IF in locations around the world, working closely with ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. I am active in commemorating Banned Books Week. I work preparing our next librarians for their future in supporting IF through mentoring and in teaching graduate courses including public libraries and reference. 

Congratulations, FTRF on your 45th Anniversary! I look forward to working with you and contributing to your continuing presence and vibrant mission.  

Sophia Sotilleo, Assistant Professor/Access Services Librarian, Langston Hughes Memorial Library, The Lincoln University, Lincoln University, PA

I am grateful for the nomination to serve on the board for the Freedom to Read Foundation. As an access services librarian, the FTRF purpose and primary activities align with what I strive to do daily at work and in my community, which makes working with the Foundation a wonderful opportunity. It concerns me to know that there are still so many cases in our community and in our court system that challenge our First Amendment rights.  However, knowing that I will be working with a team of individuals continuing to educate, promote, protect, and safeguard our rights keeps the level of concern and worry to a minimum.  Serving as a liaison member for BCALA organization was my introduction to the important work that FTRF does and I look forward to the work that is before me as a board member to continue the mission and purpose of the Foundation.   

Julia Warga, Associate Director for Research and Instruction, Kenyon College, Gambier, OH

I joined FTRF a decade ago, when I became a librarian. You may not know my name, but you might recognize me from my involvement in FTRF board meetings, social events, and other gatherings:

* Member of six Gordon M. Conable Scholarship Committees
* Former Member of FTRF Membership and Fundraising committees
* Past Chair of IFRT
* Former NMRT Liaison
* Current LIRT Liaison
* Current LLAMA Liaison
* Promote FTRF’s 45th Anniversary at ACRL 2015
* Volunteer at FTRF Midwinter Meeting author events

I’ve worked passionately to increase FTRF’s visibility and membership.  

If elected, I will continue to energetically recruit librarians and First Amendment allies to join FTRF and encourage all members to become as active as I am. I am proud of our collective accomplishments as an organization, and I am honored to run for Trustee.

Michael Wright, Director, Dubuque County Library, Asbury, IA

I am honored to run for the Freedom to Read Foundation Board of Trustees.  My commit¬ment to intellectual freedom is longstanding.  Having served as chair of the Iowa Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee from 2005–2011, in 2015 I am the chair once again. In 2006 I was fortunate enough to be schooled at Law for Librarians, an intellectual freedom immersion for state IF chairs sponsored by ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. This was a transform¬ative experience.  

Now an active and committed member of ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee, I am also well-versed in foundation work through my service as President of the Iowa Library Association Foundation.  Having conducted intellectual freedom workshops for public library staff and trustees in many of Iowa’s 99 counties, I found a number of them held a deep commitment and passion for intellectual freedom principles.  I would bring those same traits to the Freedom to Read Foundation. 

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