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Remembering David Cohen, 1909-2015

Posted By Jonathan M. Kelley, Thursday, February 12, 2015

The library world lost a true giant last week with the passing of David Cohen on Thursday, February 5. David received the FTRF Roll of Honor Award in 2005, just one of his many, many accolades honoring a career that spanned eight decades.

According to David's friend, Rocco Staino, David's family has requested that donations in his name be made to the Freedom to Read Foundation. We are deeply honored by this. If you would like to make such a donation, please do so here.  

We have created a special page to honor David here.  It includes photos, a list of honors and awards, and the text of his Roll of Honor citation.  If you know of anything we can add, please let us know in the comments of this post or by contacting Jonathan Kelley at Also, we'd love to read your memories of David in the comments.

From FTRF Executive Director Barbara Jones:
In the 1970s, fresh out of library school, I wanted to get involved with ALA. Intellectual freedom was my choice for focus. Then at NYU, I called David Cohen to ask how to get involved in IFRT. Within a couple of days, I was on the ballot to run for Secretary and the rest is history. David was generous like that.


From FTRF Program Officer Jonathan Kelley:

My most vivid memory of David Cohen was sitting backstage with him in 2005 as he waited to receive his Roll of Honor Award. Also waiting with us was then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama. Senator Obama went out of his way to congratulate David on his award, and they chatted for a bit. Later, during his keynote address, the senator prefaced his remarks by commenting on how impressed he was by the 96-year-old.

I will also always remember his powerful dedication to the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund, including spearheading the Intellectual Freedom Round Table's ongoing committee to support the Merritt Fund.

From the OIF/FTRF 30th Anniversary Roll of Honor Book (1999):

To many of his peers and colleagues, David is known as "Mr. Intellectual Freedom." His commitment to the principles have governed his professional career, as well as his personal life. He is one of the founders of the Long Island Coalition Against Censorship, and through this organization and many other means, he has worked unstintingly to make his beliefs a reality.




Tags:  David Cohen  EMIERT  IFRT  in memoriam  NYLA  Roll of Honor 

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Roll of Honor Award to be presented to Herbert Krug

Posted By Jonathan M. Kelley, Monday, June 2, 2014
Herbert KrugJoin us in congratulating Herbert Krug, the 2014 recipient of FTRF's Roll of Honor Award.  Herb is being honored for his great generosity of time, expertise, leadership, and funding since the organization's inception in 1969.

In honoring Herb, Roll of Honor Committee chair Judith Platt said, "So much of Herb’s work has been done quietly and without fanfare that we’re delighted to now turn the spotlight on him and to honor him with this award.”  You can read the entire press release here.

If you're attending the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, please join us at the Opening General Session where Herb will be presented with his award between 4:00 - 5:15 p.m. on Friday, June 27.

Tags:  ALA Annual Conference  Herbert Krug  Roll of Honor 

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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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June FTRF News online

Posted By Jonathan M. Kelley, Thursday, June 20, 2013

The June 2013 issue of the Freedom to Read Foundation News is in the mail - and has been posted online.  Our quarterly publication is available as a benefit to all current FTRF members, as well as to organizations who subscribe.  To access the current issue, you must be signed in as a member.  Sign-in directions are at  the top right corner of this page.  (Back issues, from 1991 to March 2013, are available to members and non-members.)

This issue has the latest information on the Chicago Public Schools' controversy over the graphic novel Persepolis, profiles of the many spring FTRF "winners" (Roll of Honor Award, Conable Scholarship, Krug Fund Banned Books Week grants, and the trustee elections), and information about FTRF's upcoming ALA Annual Conference activities (including the Member Reception with Sara Paretsky). We hope you enjoy this issue - we'd love your feedback (in the comments here, on Twitter, or shoot us an email)!

If you're not a 2013 member of the Freedom to Read Foundation, take this opportunity to become one!

Tags:  Chicago Public Schools  ConableJudith Krug Memorial Fund  FTRF news  Roll of Honor  Sara Paretsky 

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