Nominations invited for annual Downs Intellectual Freedom Award

The iSchool at Illinois seeks nominations for the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award. The deadline for nominations is October 1, 2016.

Given annually, the award acknowledges individuals or groups who have furthered the cause of intellectual freedom, particularly as it impacts libraries and information centers and the dissemination of ideas. Granted to those who have resisted censorship or efforts to abridge the freedom of individuals to read or view materials of their choice, the award may be in recognition of a particular action or a long-term interest in and dedication to the cause of intellectual freedom.

The Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award was established in 1969 by the faculty to honor Dean Emeritus Downs, a champion of intellectual freedom, on the occasion of his twenty-fifth anniversary as director of the School.

Previous winners have included HP Kids Read (2015) for their work in support of freedom to read at Highland Park (TX) High School; the staff and board of trustees of the Orland Park (IL) Public Library (2014) for the defense of their policy to not filter adult Internet access in the library; DaNae Leu (2013) for her efforts to keep a controversial picture book on the shelves of her elementary school library; Librotraficante (2012) for its efforts to oppose the censorship of ethnic and cultural studies materials in Arizona; and Marianna Tax Choldin (2011) for her international work in educating librarians about intellectual freedom.

Libraries Unlimited, an imprint of ABC-CLIO Publishing Company, provides an honorarium to the recipient and co-hosts the reception in honor of the recipient. The reception and award ceremony for the 2016 Downs Intellectual Freedom Award will take place in January 2017 during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.

Letters of nomination and documentation about the nominee should be sent by October 1, 2016 to Associate Professor Terry Weech, either by email at weech@illinois.edu with a copy to ischool-dean@illinois.edu, or in paper form to Associate Professor Terry Weech, School of Information Sciences, 501 East Daniel Street, Champaign, IL 61820. Questions should be directed to Associate Professor Terry Weech.

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