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Insider Article [September 2013] [09/03/13] (President's Column)
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President’s Column

photo of Derek Wolfgram

CLA’s Commitment to Intellectual Freedom

CLA is involved in helping libraries and library staff in many ways that you hear about regularly: conference planning, legislative efforts, summer reading, and spring fling workshops. One equally important facet that has been relatively quiet for the last couple of years, but remains a key component of our organizational values, is intellectual freedom.

CLA annually presents the Zoia Horn Award, named for a groundbreaking librarian who spent weeks in jail in 1972 rather than betray her belief in intellectual freedom principles. The 2013 award will be presented to bestselling fiction and nonfiction author David Brin, whose 1998 book The Transparent Society invokes the importance of transparency in how data about individuals is collected, in order to allow for a basic level of privacy protection that people need.

This year’s CLA Intellectual Freedom Committee and Zoia Horn Award Committee are going beyond selecting an award winner, and they have several initiatives in the works to highlight the importance of intellectual freedom. They will be reviewing a resolution on privacy rights in response to the recent revelations regarding NSA data collection about American citizens, which will then go to the CLA Board for approval. They have created a new Facebook presence at to serve as a forum about intellectual freedom issues.

The committee is also working on a plan for an online effort to promote this year’s Banned Books Week (September 22-28), and a bigger initiative for Banned Books Week 2014 about which you will no doubt be hearing more in the months ahead. My thanks to the committee members revitalizing this commitment to CLA’s values, and I hope that you will like their Facebook page to learn more about what they’re doing.

Derek Wolfgram
CLA President