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Gordon M. Conable Conference Scholarship

What is the Conable Conference Scholarship?

The Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) offers an annual scholarship for library school students and new professionals to attend ALA's Annual Conference. The goal of the Gordon M. Conable Conference Scholarship is to advance two principles that Gordon held dear: intellectual freedom and mentoring.

The Conable Scholarship provides for conference registration, transportation, housing (six nights), and a $300 stipend for meals and other expenses. Due to COVID-19, the recipient will be able to apply this award to ALA Midwinter 2021 or ALA Annual 2021.

The recipient will also receive a one-year membership in the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF). In return, recipient will be expected to attend various FTRF and other intellectual freedom meetings and programs at conference, consult with a mentor/board member, and present a report about their experiences and thoughts. Application deadline April 31, 2020.

Who is eligible?

Students currently enrolled in an ALA-accredited library and information studies degree program or an AASL-recognized master’s programs in school librarianship and new professionals (those who are three or fewer years removed from receiving an LIS degree) are eligible to receive the Conable Scholarship.

Note: If the recipient is already registered for ALA’s Annual Conference, he or she will have their conference fee refunded.

The conference scholarship winner will be expected to arrive on Wednesday and stay through Monday afternoon. 

How to apply

The application requires a resume, two references, and an essay of up to 500 words describing your interest in intellectual freedom issues and how you will use your attendance at an ALA conference to further your interest in intellectual freedom during and after the conference.  Your resume should include your education, work history, and volunteer experience.

Submit an Application.

 2019 Conable Scholar Amanda Vazquez


Ms. Vazquez is the library director of the Orange City Public Library in Orange City, Iowa. Her first-hand experience with freedom to read issues includes handling censorship and book challenges over LGBT materials in her library. Her commitment to intellectual freedom advocacy and ongoing education, as well as her passion for engaging in national conversations about free speech, deeply impressed the committee.

Read the full press release at FTRF NEWS


 2018 Conable Scholar Dovi Mae Patino


Dovi is a first-year, first-generation MLIS student at the University of Washington Information School. As a Filipina-American, she aspires to be a public librarian committed to ensuring equitable access to information and resources in underrepresented communities. As this year’s Conable Scholar, she also places tremendous value in professional development and mentorship opportunities, which are not always accessible to people of color. 

“Dovi was an outstanding applicant. The committee was impressed with her commitment to intellectual freedom and diversity,” said Conable Scholarship Committee chair Katie Chamberlain Kritios. “Her graduate school and work experience demonstrate her commitment to the FRTF’s mission of intellectual freedom and information access and the ALA’s core values of equity, diversity, and inclusion.”

Read the full press release at FTRF NEWS


 2017 Conable Scholar Kate Davis

 Kate Davis  

The Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) has selected Kate Davis as the recipient of the 2017 Gordon M. Conable Conference Scholarship.

Davis very recently received her Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Denver. She received a Master of Education from the University of Florida, and completed her B.A. in English and History at Rutgers University. She is a former school teacher who has taught in Denver, Colorado and the United Arab Emirates. She will soon begin working as a solo librarian at a school in Nigeria.

Read the full press release at FTRF NEWS


 2016 Conable Scholar Katie Chamberlain Kritikos


2016 Conable Scholar

"Being a Conable Scholar allowed me not only to attend the ALA annual conference and participate in meetings, roundtables, and social events - it also created lasting relationships with other intellectual freedom advocates in the FRTF and OIF who are now mentors, colleagues, and friends," said 2016 award-recipient Katie Chamberlain Kritikos.

FTRF Executive Director James LaRue, 2016 Conable Scholar Katie Chamberlain Kritikos, FTRF Trustee Julia Warga.


Conable Conference Scholarship

Email or call (800) 545-2433 x4226 with any questions.


Past Recipients

Katie Chamberlain KritikosMack Freeman Amanda Meeks Steven Booth Audrey Barbakoff Aubrey Madler Amanda Sharpe 


Who was Gordon M. Conable?

Gordon Conable was a California librarian and intellectual freedom champion who served several terms as president of the Freedom to Read Foundation. His unexpected death in 2005 inspired his wife and the FTRF board to create the Conable Fund, which provides funding for the Conable Scholarship.

Gordon was executive vice president for public libraries at Library Systems and Services (LSSI) in Riverside, CA. He was responsible for management and performance of LSSI's public library contracts, including the 30-branch Riverside County, CA system. He also served as director of the Monroe County (MI) Library System from 1988-1998; during his tenure there, he withstood an intense controversy over Madonna's book Sex. Before that he was associate director of the Fort Vancouver Regional Library in Washington. For his efforts, Conable was a recipient of the Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor Award and the John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award for "intellectual freedom fighters." In 1994 he was the first librarian recognized as Michigan's Public Administrator of the Year.


Donate to the Conable Fund

You can donate to the Gordon M. Conable Memorial Fund here.  Additionally, you can donate by calling (312) 280-4226 or sending an email to You also can send a check, payable to Freedom to Read Foundation, to 225 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1300 Chicago, IL 60601. Please put "Conable Fund" in the memo section of your check.