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Remembering Judith, Part 1: Barbara Jones

Posted By Jonathan M. Kelley, Friday, April 11, 2014
Five years ago today, Judith Krug passed away. To honor her memory, we are posting a series of remembrances on the Freedom to Read Foundation blog throughout the day.  If you would like to add a memory, please feel free to email or post a note in the comments.

Here are the other parts in the series:
Part 2: Judith Platt
Part 3: Chris Finan
Part 4: Eva Poole, Mary Minow, Mary Curtis
Part 5: 2009 Memorials

Our first remembrance comes from Barbara Jones:

When I first accepted the position of Director of OIF and FTRF after Judith’s death, many of my colleagues emailed me:  “I’d hate to try fitting into those shoes.”  But I saw it differently.  

Of course I look every day at Judith’s photo on my bulletin board and feel humbled and so grateful that she was my mentor.  I was truly blessed to have that role model to guide my career.  But then I move on to start my day—talking to a long-time librarian who is weary from defending the freedom to read in her library and needs support to get through another week; or advising a young librarian whose boss just told her to remove a book from the shelves and she doesn't want to lose her job by opposing him. Taking a course on how to use social media to grow the Foundation. And I think of how much Judith would have loved working with Tony Diaz and Librotraficante, as FTRF works to defend the freedom to read for Mexican-American students.      

The best way to honor a legacy that has driven my entire career, is to help that legacy grow and thrive in the best way I can.  And to help encourage a new generation of librarians who are passionate about the freedom to read and the core values of this profession.  

Since my mother slammed her fists on the reference desk at our hometown library, demanding they let me in the adult section, I knew that free speech would be my career.  But how?  And then I met Judith Krug—first through library school articles, and then at ALA conferences.  I knew I was home with her and with the librarians who are lifelong friends.      

Toward the end of her career cut tragically short, I remember Judith at an IFLA/FAIFE meeting in Amsterdam.  FAIFE (Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression) was struggling to survive as a committee of IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions).  We had no money and no prospects.  We discussed all the reasons FAIFE should be disbanded: travel expenses, time, member commitment, et al.  And Judith kept saying, over and over:  “But it’s too important.”  And today, about ten years later, FAIFE thrives and grows.    

Last week, one of our young ALA committee members asked some of us “senior” colleagues on email:  “What was Fran (a deceased school librarian and long-time IFer) like?”  The responses touched me.  From all over the country we remembered Fran so that new members can try to know her.  

And today it is time to remember Judith in that way—from many of us, from many perspectives.

If you would like to support Judith's legacy, please consider making a contribution to FTRF's Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund. Your donations to the Krug Fund will go directly to providing grants to libraries and other organizations celebrating Banned Books Week, and to FTRF's ongoing online intellectual freedom education efforts.  For more information, visit

Tags:  Judith Krug  Judith Krug remembrances 

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