IFRT Member Spotlight – Kristin Pekoll

Advocacy, Banned and Challenged Books, IFRT Member Spotlight

Kristin Pekoll is a former YA librarian from Wisconsin. For eight years she provided professional and emotional support to library workers experiencing bans and challenges as the assistant director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. She is the author of Beyond Banned Books: Defending Intellectual Freedom throughout Your Library published by ALA Editions in 2019. Currently she works with the Illinois Library Association as their Conference and Continuing Education Manager.

1.  What made you want to be part of the IFRT?

When I was the staff liaison for IFRT, I saw first hand the dedication and passion of IFRT members for the core values of our profession and for supporting others who are addressing challenges in intellectual freedom; such as privacy, banned books, equitable access, or the First Amendment. 

2.  What is your favorite part about being in IFRT?

Definitely the people. Both the leadership currently serving, the past volunteers and chairs that I’ve learned so much from, and the thousands of IFRT members who support and benefit the mission. 

3.  Have you joined any IFRT programs lately? What was your favorite?

I attended multiple programs at LibLearnX 2023 with IFRT presenters; Censorship Toolkit including IFRT Chair Elect Amanda Vazquez and the Intellectual Freedom Syllabus with IFRT Emerging Leaders. I’ve been able to attend a few IFRT Executive Board monthly meetings, and I’m always encouraged by the numerous projects they are working on. I think my favorite is actually one that is coming up. IFRT will be celebrating their 50th anniversary in Chicago at ALA Annual. I think it’s going to be a great event. 

4.  If you could meet your favorite banned book character, who would you meet and why?

My favorite banned book character is Ginny Shreves from The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler. The book is 20 years old, but I still remember the teen book club that I hosted as a librarian when the middle schoolers talked about how Ginny gave them confidence to try something new or to be different. I wish I had known Ginny when I was a teenager. 

Plus, her boyfriend’s name is Froggy Welsh the Fourth and I don’t think a character has ever been gifted with such an awesome name.

Composed by the Intellectual Freedom Round Table Publications and Communications Committee. Follow us on Twitter @IFRT_ALA.

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