December 2, 2009...9:59 am

Barbara Jones Named New Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom

The American Library Association (ALA) has named Barbara M. Jones its new director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom and its new executive director of the Freedom to Read Foundation, effective December 14.

She brings a rich background in library administration, scholarship and intellectual freedom advocacy to the position. From 2003-2009 she was the Caleb T. Winchester University Librarian and Deans’ Council Member at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. She held previous library directorships at Union College, the University of Northern Iowa, and the Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY), as well as administrative positions at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), Minnesota Historical Society, New York University and Teachers College Library, Columbia University.

In her letter of application, Barbara noted: “Twenty-first century IF issues are evolving quickly from those of the twentieth, due to the following: globalization of intellectual freedom issues; technology and privacy concerns; and an increasingly contentious civic discourse as witnessed in the recent health care Town Meetings…New intellectual freedom issues will need to be articulated in terms of our unchanging IF ideals — to the ALA membership, the general public, and to the organizations with which ALA collaborates.”

Barbara currently serves as Treasurer, Freedom to Read Foundation. She served on the FAIFE (Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression) IFLA Standing Committee, serving as Secretary to FAIFE from 2007-2009. She was a member of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee (1990-1994, 2001-2003) and currently serves on the IFC Privacy Subcommittee (2009). In 2004-05 (and 1986-87) she served as Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table. She is currently an ACRL Legislative Advocate and has also served on state Intellectual Freedom Committees in Iowa and Minnesota. As a FAIFE trainer and expert advisor, Barbara has developed curricula and training programs, and conducted workshops internationally.

In addition, Barbara has consulted, spoken and written extensively in the area of intellectual freedom. In 2009, she published Protecting Intellectual Freedom in Your Academic Library with ALA Editions. Earlier writing includes Libraries, Access, and Intellectual Freedom: Developing Policies for Public and Academic Libraries (ALA Editions, 1999) and a number of articles and chapters, including “Libel Tourism: What Librarians Need to Know,” for American Libraries (2009-2010).

She received the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award from the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science in 2008. She was named to the Freedom to Read Foundation Honor Roll at their 30th anniversary gala in 1999.

In 1995, Barbara Jones received a Ph.D. in U.S. Legal History from the University of Minnesota/Twin Cities. She also holds an M.A. in History, Archival Management, and Historical Editing from New York University; an M.L.S. from the Columbia University School of Library Service; an M.A.T. in English from Northwestern University; and a B.A. in English from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.