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Roll of Honor: Carolyn Forsman
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Carolyn Forsman    Forsman at FTRF booth    

2001 FTRF Roll of Honor inductee Carolyn Forsman (1943-2013)

Carolyn's family has asked that funds in Carolyn's memory be donated to the Freedom to Read Foundation or the Cancer Research Institute.  If you would like to make a donation in Carolyn's memory, you may do so here.

About Carolyn Forsman

Born in the Bronx, Carolyn received a BA from NYU in 1964 and an MLS at Berkeley in 1965.  After serving as a librarian and library educator in California, Maryland, and Washington, DC, Carolyn's creativity and entrepreneurial spirit led her to start Carolyn Forsman Conversation Piece Jewelry (also known, for a time, as Beadweaver).  Among her signature items were the hugely popular "Banned Books" bracelets, featuring covers of banned and challenged books.  

Always an activist, Carolyn was an early leader of RTSRL (the group that became the Social Responsibilities Round Table) and of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table.  In addition to peace and intellectual freedom activism, she was particularly concerned with providing library services to young adults.

Carolyn donated over $150,000 to FTRF over the years via the sale of her jewelry at ALA Conferences.

In June 2013, the ALA Council passed a memorial resolution honoring Carolyn.

News & Features

"Up Against the Stacks: the Liberated Librarian's Guide to Activism" - seminal 1970 article by Carolyn Forsman in Synergy, San Francisco Public Library newsletter

"Crisis Information Services to Youth" - 1972 article by Carolyn Forsman in School Library Journal (reprint permission pending)

1979 American Libraries article: "Carolyn Forsman: Changing From Within"

2004 article at "New Items Celebrate 25 Years of Carolyn Forsman Conversation Piece Jewelry"

"Committed to Fighting and Thinking" - 2009 Times Higher Education (U.K.) article by Tara Barbarzon profiling intriguing librarians. Includes quote:

Carolyn Forsman is an extraordinary woman who designs remarkable jewellery including the "I read banned books” necklace and bracelet. A former public reference librarian, library educator and American Library Association councillor, Carolyn supports the Freedom to Read Foundation. She uses her commitment to creativity and books, anti-censorship and reading, to design magnificent objects to both wear and think about. Forsman "endured long professional meetings designing beaded jewellery” and then went on to establish a successful business. But there remains a trace of librarianship in her work, through the belief in intelligence, wit and freedom of speech.

New York Times Obituary

FTRF Blog post remembering Carolyn

ABFFE statement on Carolyn's death

Video interview with Carolyn Forsman at the 2011 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans:



Roll of Honor Citation

A visionary with a heart for freedom, you pursued your dream to become a jewelry designer and now use your creations to serve intellectual freedom.

Thank you, Carolyn Forsman, for your steadfast dedication to libraries and the freedom to read for all persons.

Thank you for your continuing and most generous financial contributions to the Freedom to Read Foundation.

Thank you for promoting the message of the Foundation, and making each purchase of your jewelry through the Foundation an opportunity to advance its work.

Thank you, Carolyn, for your unfailing support and your exemplary service to the cause of intellectual freedom.

Candace D. Morgan, President
Judith F. Krug, Executive Director

San Francisco, June 2001