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Intellectual Freedom Champions
 



Intellectual Freedom Champion Award

Oregon Library Association 
2016 Intellectual Freedom Champions

2016 IF Champions

The  OLA Intellectual Freedom Committee selected a trio of educators from the Albany School District as the recipients of the 2016 Intellectual Freedom Champion of the Year Award in recognition of their courageous efforts in support of their students’ freedom to read.

The recipients are Jean Gritter, Library Media Specialist at West Albany High School; Blain Willard, teacher at West Albany High School; and Jason Hay, Secondary Curriculum Director for Albany School District.  As a team, their response to the request for reconsideration of a novel being used in the Advanced Placement Literature class was thorough and efficient.  The district was prepared for challenges to materials with clear policies and procedures in place.  Supporting materials were gathered and discussed and a recommendation made to the Albany School District Board of Directors.  The School Board made the decision to retain the novel in the AP curriculum.  The publicity about the challenge reminded the community that their school district supports the right of their students to have access to literature and the freedom to read. 

 Jean, the librarian at the high school said, “What I found most rewarding was the response from the community, the huge majority of which were completely supportive of the use of advanced, thought-provoking materials in an advanced, college-level class.”

Blain, the AP Literature teacher, says that he supports his students’ right to read because, “Our job is not to teach students what to think, but to help them learn how to think for themselves.  At their fingertips, my students have access to more information than they can ever possibly digest.  This being the case, it's important that they're given frequent opportunities to read critically in order to evaluate information and make sense of the world they live in.  Good literature provides students with opportunities to engage in material that makes them think about the world they live in; great literature sparks a fire that makes them hurry to class in order to hash out those critical conversations with their classmates.”

The experiences of our 2016 Intellectual Freedom Champions reminds us all that we need to be prepared so that we can be the best advocates possible for our communities.

   

 Oregon Library Association Intellectual Freedom Champion of the Year Award

The Intellectual Freedom Committee of the Oregon Library Association offers the OLA Intellectual Freedom Champion of the Year Award in recognition of the contribution made by an individual, group of individuals, or an organization or institution that has actively promoted or defended intellectual freedom in Oregon.  The Intellectual Freedom Committee of the Oregon Library Association administers the Award and presents it at the Annual Awards Banquet held at the OLA Annual Conference.

Do you know an Intellectual Freedom Champion in Oregon?  Please consider nominating them for the award.  Nominations are due by February 7th each year.  For more information, please contact the chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee.  Current chair(s) are listed on the About the Intellectual Freedom Committee page.

 IF Award Information and Criteria (pdf)

 Intellectual Freedom Champion Award Nomination Form alt  (pdf)

Intellectual Freedom Champion Award Nomination Form alt  (Word)

 

Intellectual Freedom Champion Award Recipients

2016
Jean Gritter - Albany School District, Library Media Specialist
Blain Willard - Albany School District, Teacher
Jason Hay - Albany School District, Director of Secondary Curriculum
In recognition of their courageous efforts in support of their students’ freedom to read

2014
Senator Ron Wyden - United States Senate
 In recognition of his forceful and sustained campaign
to protect the privacy rights of individuals from government surveillance

2011
Katie Anderson - Oregon State Library, Youth Services Consultant
In recognition of distinguished service to libraries in Oregon
through the promotion and support of intellectual freedom

2009
Jean Townes - Albany School District, Teacher Librarian
In recognition of courage in the face of a book challenge

2006
ACLU Oregon
In recognition of outstanding efforts in support of intellectual freedom in Oregon

2000
Heather McNeil - Deschutes Public Library, Youth Services Coordinator
In recognition of distinguished services to libraries in Oregon

1999
Judy Harold
In recognition of distinguished services to libraries in Oregon

1998
Deborah Jacobs and Mary Ginnane - Multnomah County Library
In recognition of distinguished services to libraries in Oregon

1997
Candace Morgan -Intellectual Freedom Activist
In recognition of distinguished services to libraries in Oregon