Knox receives Beta Phi Mu Award

Emily Knox
Emily Knox, Associate Professor

Associate Professor Emily Knox has been selected as the 2023 recipient of the American Library Association's Beta Phi Mu Award. This annual award is given in recognition of a library school faculty member's achievement or another individual's distinguished service to education for librarianship. The award, which consists of $1,000 and a citation of achievement, is sponsored by the Beta Phi Mu International Library Science Honor Society.

Knox holds an MSLIS from the iSchool at Illinois and a PhD from Rutgers University School of Communication and Information.  She has an extensive record of scholarship and has made a lasting impression as a leader, scholar, professor, mentor, and colleague.

Knox is known for thinking critically about issues that will impact libraries in the future—namely, intellectual freedom, accessibility, and diversity. She lends her voice to this canon in libraries across the country and in larger venues such as NPR, The Washington Post, and Slate.

Colleagues and students alike hold her advocacy and mentorship in high regard. Her students appreciate her ability to break down ethical issues related to policy and admire her perspectives on understanding the tensions between policy and justice. They view Knox's classroom as a safe space to lend their voice to complex issues. Additionally, her colleagues admire her ability to balance administrative roles with classroom responsibilities.

Knox is equally skillful at engaging students and colleagues outside of the classroom and beyond the university. She held several leadership roles on the Beta Phi Mu International Society Executive Board and currently serves as chair of the National Coalition Against Censorship board. She is an expert advisor to the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE) and editor of the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy.

Knox's scholarship also focuses on advocacy and intellectual freedom. Her publications, which include books such as Foundations of Intellectual Freedom, Foundations of Information Ethics, and Book Banning in 21st Century America, collectively provide a road map for engaging and understanding issues that are critical to the field but also address broader issues of civil discourse in the United States.

The Beta Phi Mu Award jury was impressed by Knox's leadership, commitment to advocacy, and willingness to work directly with future librarians to build their knowledge, skills, and professional awareness.

"It's an honor to receive this award, especially in light of the continuing threats to public and school libraries and library workers across the country," said Knox. "I hope that my work highlights the people who are on the frontlines of censorship fights."

The award will be presented on June 25, 2023, at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.