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 5, 2019.

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

Previous winners have included the Iowa Library Association (2018) for taking a leadership role in several highly visible challenges to intellectual freedom; The Kansas City Public Library (2017) for its defense of library patron's First Amendment rights; Wendy Campbell (2016) for her work in increasing cultural awareness in her community; HP Kids Read (2015) for its work in support of freedom to read at the 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; and DaNae Leu (2013) for her efforts to keep a controversial picture book on the shelves of her elementary school library.

Libraries Unlimited, an imprint of ABC-CLIO Publishing Company, provides an honorarium to the Downs Award recipient and co-hosts the reception held in honor of the recipient. The reception and award ceremony for the 2019 Downs Intellectual Freedom Award will take place on January 25, 2020, during the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia.

Letters of nomination and documentation about the nominee should be sent by October 5, 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
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
501 East Daniel Street
Champaign, IL 61820

Please email any questions to Associate Professor Terry Weech.

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