Contributors

Staff

Jamie LaRueJamie LaRue is the Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom, and the Executive Director of the Freedom to Read Foundation. Author of The New Inquisition: Understanding and Managing Intellectual Freedom Challenges, he has given countless keynotes, webinars, and workshops on intellectual freedom, advocacy, building community engagement, and other topics. Prior to his work for OIF, Jamie was a public library director for many years in Douglas County, Colorado. Find him on Twitter @jaslar.
Deborah Caldwell StoneDeborah Caldwell-Stone is Deputy Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Freedom to Read Foundation. She is a recovering attorney and former appellate litigator who now works closely with librarians, library trustees and educators on a wide range of intellectual freedom and privacy issues, including book challenges, Internet filtering, meeting room policies, government surveillance, and the impact of new technologies on library patrons’ privacy and confidentiality. She has served on the faculty of the ALA-sponsored Lawyers for Libraries and Law for Librarians workshops and speaks frequently to librarians and library organizations around the country about intellectual freedom and privacy in libraries.
Ellie Diaz, Banned Books Week Program Officer Ellie Diaz is the Program Officer in charge of Banned Books Week and staff liaison to the Intellectual Freedom Committee. As a journalist, she wrote regularly for the Loyola Phoenix newspaper about advocacy in literature, and she has contributed to several social justice publications. Ellie is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, committed to free press, access to information and ethical standards. She’s currently working through all seven seasons of “The West Wing” and crossing off books from her ever-expanding “to-read” list. Find her on Twitter @_eleanordiaz_.
Kristin PekollKristin Pekoll is the Assistant Director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. Kristin communicates with state library associations on current book challenges and publications that deal with censorship, privacy, ethics, and internet filtering. She organizes online education and training on the freedom to read and how to navigate reconsideration requests and media relations. Kristin started her career as a youth librarian in West Bend, Wisconsin. In 2009, over 80 YA LGBTQ books were challenged over 6 months. While the library board voted to retain all of the books in this case, she learned the indispensable value of support and education for librarians. She continued to fight against censorship in Wisconsin as the Intellectual Freedom Round Table Chair. Kristin’s husband and kids have joined her in Chicago but they all remain true Green Bay Packers fans. She enjoys zombies, knitting, and the Big Bang Theory. Find her on Twitter @kpekoll.

Interns

April DawkinsApril Dawkins is a May 2017 doctoral graduate of the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina. Her research focus for her doctoral dissertation was understanding the factors that influence decisions around selection in school libraries and the role of self-censorship. In August 2017, April will join the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as an Assistant Professor in the School of Education’s Library and Information Studies department. Prior to her doctoral studies, April served for fifteen years as a high school media specialist in North Carolina. She is also a past president of the North Carolina School Library Media Association. April also serves on the Intellectual Freedom committee of the South Carolina Association of School Librarians. Find her on Twitter @aprldwkns.
Kate LechtenbergKate Lechtenberg is a doctoral student in Language, Literacy, and Culture in the University of Iowa’s College of Education. After working in public schools for fourteen years as a high school English teacher and school librarian, her doctoral research now focuses on text selection, multicultural literature, educational standards, and equity initiatives. Kate teaches a young adult literature course in the College of Education and a school librarian course on print and digital collection management in the School of Library and Information Science. She is also a member of the AASL Standards Implementation Task Force. Find her on Twitter @katelechtenberg.

Contributors

Jill BrownJill Brown is the Director at Millington Arbela District Library in Millington, Michigan. Originating from a background of fighting for physical freedoms while running a shelter for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, Brown has since turned her efforts to intellectual freedom as she transitioned into the public library world. A graduate of Wayne State University’s School of Library and Information Science, Brown has continued the good fight during her years as a rural Michigan library director. Her interests include self-censorship, collection development practices in public libraries, and banned books. Brown sees all of life as an adventure, but especially enjoys the kind that gets her into the outdoors: hiking and biking. Evidence of Brown’s passion for intellectual freedom can be seen in the cover of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury which she has tattooed on her right leg. She can be reached at jbrown@millingtonlibrary.info.
Cathy CollinsCathy Collins has worked as a Media Specialist/Librarian for 15 years. She is currently a library media specialist at Sharon High School, where she has worked for the past five years. She began her career as a reporter who covered business, arts and education-related issues. While interviewing the headmaster at a private school, she realized that she wanted to combine her love of research and writing with a career in education. At that point, she returned to school for a Masters in Library Science and further graduate studies in educational leadership. Ms. Collins has published her writing in various journals including “Library Media Connection,” “NEA Today,” education-related blogs and websites including AASL’s “Knowledge Quest.” She is a 2012 Reynolds High School Journalism Institute Fellow and project consultant for the E-Book, “Searchlights and Sunglasses: Journalism in the Digital Age.” She received a “Teachers for Global Classrooms” fellowship from the U.S. State Dept. in 2014 and is the recipient of AASL’s Intellectual Freedom Award (2014). She has served on the MassCUE Board as PD Chair since 2013 as well as the NEISTE Board. She was named an MSLA “Super Librarian” in 2014, and earned National Board Certification as a Library/Media Teacher in 2009. She received the HNA “Teacher of the Year” award in 2015 for excellence in teaching about China. In her spare time, she enjoys nature walks, reading, world travel and yoga. Find her on Twitter @TechGypsy11.
Robert FernandezRobert Fernandez is an academic librarian and is a member of the Florida Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee. A member of the Board of Directors of Wikimedia District of Columbia, he has been active on Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects since 2004 and is part of efforts to get more librarians to participate on Wikipedia. Find him on Twitter @wikigamaliel.
mackJohn “Mack” Freeman is a branch manager with Gwinnett County Public Library. He is a past recipient of the Freedom to Read Foundation’s Conable Scholarship, and he was a 2015 ALA Emerging Leader. He currently co-chairs the GLBTRT’s Stonewall Book Award Committee and is the Vice President for Membership of the Georgia Library Association. He is interested in privacy, self-censorship, new frontiers of IF, and services to under-served communities. You can find out more about him at www.johnmackfreeman.com. When not in library world, he enjoys walking Micah, the laziest blueheeler in the world, going on adventures with his husband Dale, and cooking Italian food from unintentionally snobby mid-century cookbooks. Find him on Twitter @johnmackfreeman.
shicksheadshotSarah Hicks is a current MLIS student at the University of Pittsburgh, and works in a local public library. She has long been passionate about issues regarding intellectual freedom, and believes that these issues are becoming increasingly important worldwide, especially those related to privacy, surveillance, and censorship. Perhaps unsurprisingly, as certain stereotypes about librarians are not wholly untrue, she is both an avid reader (of many genres) and a total cat lady. Sarah can sometimes be found @exactlibrarian.
Frederic MurrayFrederic Murray is the Head of Instructional Services at the Al Harris Library, Southwestern Oklahoma State University. He is a tenured faculty member and as an academic librarian has initiated the growth and expansion of information literacy classes across the campus curriculum. He has presented at state, national and international conferences in the areas of library pedagogy, digital textbooks, and the development of curriculum for Native American Studies. He serves as the Managing Editor for Administrative Issues Journal, a peer-reviewed, open access journal in its sixth year of publication. He believes deeply in the value of books and the inherent strength found in the human voice. Among his favorite authors are Lenny Bruce, Jimmy Santiago Baca and Carson McCullers. He can be reached at fredmurr@gmail.com.
Valerie NyeValerie Nye is the Library Director at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. She has been active in local and national library organizations; recently serving on ALA Council, the New Mexico Library Association, and the New Mexico Consortium of Academic Libraries. Val has cowritten or coedited four books including: True Stories of Censorship Battles in America’s Libraries published by ALA Editions in 2012. True Stories is a compilation of essays written by librarians who have experienced challenges to remove material held in their libraries’ collections. She has an MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In her time away from the library she enjoys road trips in convertibles and kayaking on lakes.
Patricia PetersPat Peters is director of the Decatur Public Library, Decatur, Texas. In her spare time, she is an adjunct professor of Library Science for Texas Woman’s University, having taught both graduate and undergraduate Children’s Literature and Youth Programming. Pat is the 2016-17 chair of the Texas Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee. Pat and her husband Jeff live in Denton, Texas. Pat can sometimes be found @PatriciaP628.

Intellectual Freedom Blog contributors are volunteers and their views and opinions are their own and do not always reflect the views or opinions of the Office for Intellectual Freedom or the American Library Association.