Pilar Martinez is the Chief Executive Officer of the award-winning Edmonton Public Library, where she is responsible for leading 650 staff and managing a $69M operating budget. She has championed numerous innovative services, including community-led and digital initiatives, such as makerspaces. Pilar has a broad base of experience in executive leadership including advocacy, strategic planning and change leadership. She is highly engaged with the community, serving on several boards nation-wide, the working group for the Centre for Freedom of Expression. Pilar is a stalwart advocate of public library’s foundational value of intellectual freedom.
1. What made you want to be a part of the IFRT?
Intellectual Freedom is a foundational library value. With increased polarization and continual calls for censorship, I am eager to be involved with a group that promotes the right to read, listen and view. I appreciate learning about intellectual freedom challenges and having opportunities to participate in webinars to engage in this topic.
2. What is your favorite part about being involved in IFRT?
I value the quarterly Intellectual Freedom Round Table newsletters and the weekly Intellectual Freedom News to stay up to date on current issues related to intellectual freedom. It’s also great to be part of a network of folks who share a commitment to intellectual freedom.
3. Have you joined any IFRT programs recently? What was your favorite?
I welcome the Intellectual Freedom News and read it faithfully. It’s wonderful to be able to keep up to date on topics such as censorship, privacy, free speech and more. I particularly appreciate the International section, which provides a global perspective. Where else would I find out that Dutch schools are censoring dinosaurs and Harry Potter due to demands from religious communities (Oct 15 issue).
4. If you could meet your favorite banned book character, who would you meet and why?
I have so many, it’s difficult to pick just one. I would love to meet Liesl from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I am fascinated by World War II, where young Liesl grew up and of course, share her love of books. While living with her foster parents, Liesel is taught to read by Hans, her foster father. She becomes close friends with a Jewish man named Max, who is being hidden by her foster family. Liesl escapes air-raids and loss of hope and goes on to live her life in Australia. She is full of spark and perseverance in a story that emphasizes both tragedy and hope.
The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) provides a forum for the discussion of activities, programs and problems in intellectual freedom of libraries and librarians; serves as a channel of communications on intellectual freedom matters; promotes a greater opportunity for involvement among the members of the ALA in defense of intellectual freedom; promotes a greater feeling of responsibility in the implementation of ALA policies on intellectual freedom.