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Memorial reception for Carolyn Forsman

Posted By Jonathan M. Kelley, Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Those of you attending next week's ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia are invited to join the friends and family of Carolyn Forsman at a reception in her memory on Friday, January 24th from 7:00-8:30 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.  

Details here. You can RSVP on our Facebook event page. We hope those of you who knew Carolyn will join us in a celebration of her amazing life and career!

Also check out our special Roll of Honor page for Carolyn (includes an interview of her from the 2011 Annual Conference).

Tags:  Carolyn Forsman  Midwinter Meeting  Philadelphia  Roll of Honor 

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ALA Council passes resolutions in memory of Forsman, Shank

Posted By Jonathan M. Kelley, Tuesday, July 9, 2013

During the 2013 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago last week, the American Library Association Council passed two memorial resolutions commemorating FTRF Roll of Honor winners, Carolyn Forsman and Russell Shank:


Whereas the American Library Association (ALA) and the Freedom to Read Foundation lost a valued member and leader on January 19, 2013; and

Whereas Carolyn Forsman was a tireless and outspoken advocate of intellectual freedom and the freedom to read and received the Freedom to Read Foundation 2001 Roll of Honor Award; and

Whereas she was in the first class of doctoral students in library science at the University of Maryland, 1969-72; and

Whereas she served as a librarian at Vallejo Public Library and the Washington, DC Public Library; and

Whereas her excellent visualization skills and creative instinct led to jewelry that "spins, sparkles, flips, flashes, glows, winks, snaps & slinks” and an ALA booth that was a true pioneer of "maker space”; and 

Whereas she used her creativity to establish an ALA Exhibits booth to sell her jewelry and donate the proceeds to the Freedom to Read Foundation: now, therefore, be it 

Resolved, that the American Library Association (ALA), on behalf of its members: 

  1. recognizes the significant contributions of Carolyn Forsman to the cause of intellectual freedom and librarianship; and 
  2. extends its sincerest condolences to her friends and family.


Whereas the American Library Association (ALA) and the Freedom toRead Foundation lost a renowned member and leader on June 26, 2012 with the death of Russell Shank; and

Whereas Russell Shank served from 1967 to 1977 as the Smithsonian Institution’s first-ever director of libraries; and

Whereas he served as the first-ever vice chancellor for library and information services and planning, and in other leadership positions, at the UCLA Libraries from 1977-1989; and

Whereas he served as the President of the American Library Association from 1978-79, during which time he joined ALA’s Council in supporting the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment; and

Whereas he was a staunch defender of intellectual freedom and received the Freedom to Read Roll of Honor in 1990; and 

Whereas he was an extremely kind, sensitive person and in spite of his health challenges, never lost his sense of humor: now, therefore, be it 

Resolved, that the American Library Association (ALA), on behalf of its members:

  1. Recognizes the significant contributions of Russell Shank over the course of his distinguished career and mourns his death; and         
  2. Extends its sincerest condolences to his friends and family.

Tags:  ALA  Annual Conference  Carolyn Forsman  Roll of Honor  Russell Shank 

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March 2013 issue of FTRF News now available

Posted By Jonathan M. Kelley, Thursday, March 14, 2013

FTRF's quarterly publication, Freedom to Read Foundation News, is made available in print and online as a benefit to FTRF members.  The most recent issue, March 2013, is now posted - to access it, just log on to your member profile.  If you have not renewed your membership for 2013, you'll get a prompt to do so.

If you are not yet a member, we encourage you to join today!

This issue features articles on the recent victory in the Utah book banning case; remembrances of Carolyn Forsman and Russell Shank; and an article by member Adriana McCleer about the Downs Award-winning Librotraficante and the Tucson Unified School District controversy. 

Past issues, including the December 2012 issue, are available to everyone at

Questions? Please contact Jonathan Kelley at or (312) 280-4226.

Tags:  Carolyn Forsman  FTRF News  Russell Shank  Tucson  Utah 

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Remembering Carolyn Forsman

Posted By Jonathan M. Kelley, Monday, February 11, 2013

It was right before the Midwinter Meeting that we heard of Carolyn Forsman's untimely death.

Conferences were the primary forum via which most of us connected with Carolyn.  Her booth at all the ALA Annual Conferences - and most of the Midwinter Meetings - over the past decades gave her longtime colleagues and customers a chance to catch up, see what new goodies she had to offer at her jewelry booth, and thank her for her tremendous generosity and service.

(Carolyn also loved knowing where the fun events were going to be - it was never "just business" with her! One of my fondest memories will always be her dancing at the final performance ever of the Rock Bottom Remainders at the 2012 Anaheim conference.)

Conferences were also the venues where Carolyn first made a name for herself, as one of the earliest movers and shakers in the "social responsibilities" movement that shook up ALA in the late '60s and early '70s.  Her work as a librarian transcended the traditional walls of the physical buildings so often associated with librarianship, and her seminal article "Up Against the Stacks: The Liberated Librarian's Guide to Activism" was a guiding force in the creation of ALA as we know it today.

The 2001 Annual Conference in San Francisco was where Carolyn stood on the stage to receive her prestigious FTRF Roll of Honor Award (before listening to the wonderful Opening General Session remarks by Studs Turkel); following which she joined fellow Roll of Honor members John Horany, Gordon Conable, Candace Morgan, and Judith Krug at a dinner celebrating her and Horany's additions to the Roll.  (Check out the great picture of them all reprinted in this American Libraries article.) The next day, of course, she was hard at work all day, selling her jewelry and raising thousands of dollars for the Foundation.

Finally, it will be at the 2013 Annual Conference in Chicago where we will create a memorial resolution for Carolyn, and where we can come together again to honor her contributions to this world.

We have created a new Roll of Honor page for Carolyn that includes a list of resources about her life and work.  We'll also have an article about her in the March issue of FTRF News.  If you have memories (or photos) you'd like to share, please feel free to comment here or send them to me at  And if you would like to make a donation in Carolyn's memory, you may do so on our Donations page.

Tags:  Carolyn Forsman  Roll of Honor 

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Report from Seattle

Posted By Jonathan M. Kelley, Monday, February 4, 2013

The Freedom to Read Foundation activities during ALA's 2013 Midwinter Meeting in Seattle started on an especially sad note: FTRF Executive Director Barbara Jones announced at the Board of Trustees meeting the recent passing of Carolyn Forsman.  Much more will be written about Carolyn in the coming weeks and months, but for now, we want to thank Carolyn and her family for remembering the Freedom to Read Foundation in her final wishes.

If you would like to make a donation in Carolyn's memory, you may do so here.

We were very pleased to have Sue Shank, the daughter of Russell Shank join us at the Board meeting, at which she learned about the issues FTRF is working on, issues that Russ cared so deeply about.  Read Candace Morgan's report to ALA Council on FTRF's litigation, education, and event activities.  (The report includes a note on the great meetings FTRF staff members had at the ALISE conference immediately preceding Midwinter.)

Finally, a big thank-you to those who attended the FTRF Author Fundraiser featuring the sensational Jamaica Kincaid!  We heard some wonderful stories about libraries, writing, and censorship - and gained a bunch of new members! 

Read the American Libraries article on the event here.

Overall, it was several days of great ideas, provocative discussions, and significant momentum for the Foundation as we continue into 2013. 

Tags:  ALISE  Carolyn Forsman  Jamaica Kincaid  Midwinter Meeting  Russell Shank 

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