Intellectual Freedom Heroes

Awards, Freedom to Read Foundation

By Charles Brownstein and Kristin Pekoll

While at ALA’s Midwinter conference, I was thrilled to hear the news that two very distinguished and prominent awards honored two very deserving and courageous freedom fighters. The Freedom to Read Foundation and Office of Intellectual Freedom proudly congratulate David Levithan on receiving the Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award and Pat Scales on being the 2016 recipient of the ALSC Distinguished Service Award.

David Levithan

Established in 1988, the Margaret A. Edwards award recognizes an author’s work in helping adolescents become aware of themselves and addressing questions about their role and importance in relationships, society, and in the well as a specific body of his or her work. The annual award is administered by YALSA and sponsored by School Library Journal magazine.

David Levithan at Freedom to Read FoundationLevithan is a member of the Freedom to Read Foundation, and is no stranger to censorship. His work, including Boy Meets Boy, Two Boys Kissing and Wide Awake have been the targets of attempted censorship at communities across the United States. Thanks to the efforts of OIF and FTRF, we have been able to successfully thwart some of these challenges, and to aid librarians who have come under attack for offering his work to their patrons.

Watch David talk about the importance of representing all kids during the Banned Books Week Virtual Read Out. And read his interview with Huffington Post.

Levithan spoke at Banned Books Week events last year alongside Meg Medina and Coe Booth at Housing Works Bookstore, where he commented on the problems facing readers of books by and about diverse communities. At a FTRF event, in Austin last summer, he joined HP Kids Read activists and the Texas Library Association to celebrate 45 years of defending the freedom to read.

Join David in being a champion for your patrons’ freedom to read by becoming a member of Freedom to Read Foundation today!

Pat Scales

The ALSC Distinguished Service Award honors an individual member of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) who has made significant contributions to, and an impact on, library service to children and/or ALSC. As a librarian, author, columnist, and consultant, she has made contributions in spades.

Pat ScalesAccording to the American Libraries press release, for 38 years, Pat Scales has been a passionate advocate for children’s intellectual freedom rights. Her most recent publication, Scales on Censorship, compiles her informative and thoughtful columns from School Library Journal. It follows a career of authoritative writing; Books Under Fire, Protecting Intellectual Freedom in Your School Library, and Teaching Banned Books.

“Pat Scales is not only a champion for children’s freedom to read,” said chair Katrina Hartz Taylor, “but she is also a champion for the teachers, librarians, and authors who provide the array of books that children need in order to grow and understand their world.”

The Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Freedom to Read Foundation are proud to work with Pat in keeping books on the shelf and educating youth librarians on the power of reading and thinking independently.

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