Christopher M. Finan, president of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), longtime member of the Media Coalition and member and chair of the board of the National Coalition Against Censorship, is the recipient of the 2011 Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) Roll of Honor Award.
Finan has a distinguished career in both study and activism on behalf of the freedom to read. His work on behalf of free speech began in 1982 when he joined the Media Coalition as coordinator. Finan joined ABFFE in 1998. As President of ABFFE and member of a number of free speech advocacy groups, he has worked on a host of First Amendment issues, including federal, state and local legislation and litigation. He has been particularly active in fighting state “harmful to minors” statutes and advocating the role of the bookseller as a partner with libraries, users, publishers and all who produce, distribute or use First-Amendment protected materials. Finan has been a leader in the efforts to amend the USA PATRIOT Act. Recently he has worked with ALA and brought in new partners to expand the influence and scope of Banned Books Week nationwide.
Finan’s book, “From the Palmer Raids to the Patriot Act: A History of the Fight for Free Speech in America” (Beacon, 2008), received theALA/Intellectual Freedom Round Table’s Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award in June, 2008.
Candace Morgan, chair of the Roll of Honor Selection Committee, was enthusiastic about Finan’s work: “As is clearly evident from his record as a free expression and reader privacy activist, Chris has supported and forwarded the mission and work of the Freedom to Read Foundation for its entire existence. As he is rejoining the board the Roll of Honor Committee felt this was an obvious time to recognize his contributions.”
Freedom to Read Foundation President Kent Oliver added: “It has been my pleasure to work with Chris for many years. His commitment to the First Amendment and the principles which the Freedom to Read Foundation represents is unsurpassed.”
The award will be presented at the ALA 2011 national conference in New Orleans at the Opening General Session on Friday, June 24, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
The Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor was established in 1987 to recognize and honor those individuals who have contributed substantially to FTRF through adherence to its principles and/or substantial monetary support. FTRF was founded in 1969 to promote and defend the right of individuals to freely express ideas and to access information in libraries and elsewhere. FTRFfulfills its mission through the disbursement of grants to individuals and groups, primarily for the purpose of aiding them in litigation dealing with freedom of speech and of the press.