Established December 1, 1967, the Office for Intellectual Freedom is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Association’s basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials. The goal of the office is to educate librarians and the general public about the nature and importance of intellectual freedom in libraries.
Deborah Caldwell-Stone is Director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and Executive Director of the the Freedom to Read Foundation. She is a recovering attorney and former appellate litigator who works closely with librarians, library trustees and educators on a wide range of intellectual freedom and privacy issues, including book challenges, internet censorship, meeting room policies, and library users’ 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. She is a contributor to the 10th edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual and the third edition of Information Services Today: An Introduction. She has contributed articles on law, policy, and intellectual freedom to American Libraries and other publications.
Kristin Pekoll is the Assistant Director at the Office for Intellectual Freedom. She is a former YA librarian from Wisconsin and a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan who happens to live in Chicago Bears country. She is the author of Beyond Banned Books: Defending Intellectual Freedom throughout Your Library published by ALA Editions in 2019.
The Intellectual Freedom Blog’s purpose is to educate and encourage discussions about intellectual freedom principles, and promote the value of libraries, librarians, and professional membership in the American Library Association. All writers (including guest contributors) are required to consent to the policy and purpose of the Intellectual Freedom Blog.
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Mary Arbor was born in San Diego, California and has lived in Washington D.C. for 10 years. She received a BA in Philosophy and Women’s Studies from George Washington University in 2015. After working as a 7th and 8th grade English teacher, she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a librarian. She currently works in a school library that serves students from PK-12th grade. Her academic interests include intellectual freedom, censorship, Critical Race Theory, and disability justice.
Tayla Cardillo is the Branch Librarian of the Oak Lawn Branch Library in Cranston, RI. Before her current position she was a YA librarian. She completed her MLIS at the University of Rhode Island and her B.A. in English at Rhode Island College. Tayla has known that she wanted to be a librarian since she was 17 years old. When not doing library wizardry, she enjoys playing tabletop games and cosplaying.
Cathy Collins has worked as a Library Media & Instructional Technology Specialist for 23 years at the K-12 level. She holds a Doctorate in Education with a specialization in Curriculum, Leadership, Teaching and Learning; and additional Masters Degrees in Education and Library Science. Dr. Collins served on the MassCUE Board as PD Chair from 2015-2019. She has published her writing in various journals including “EdWeek,” “Library Media Connection,” “NEA Today,” and “Knowledge Quest.” She is a 2012 Reynolds High School Journalism Institute Fellow and served as a project consultant for the E-Book, “Searchlights and Sunglasses: Journalism in the Digital Age.” She is currently serving as a News Literacy Project Ambassador. She received a “Teachers for Global Classrooms” fellowship from the U.S. State Dept. in 2014 and is the recipient of AASL’s 2014 Intellectual Freedom Award. She was named an MSLA “Super Librarian” in 2015. She served on the MA State Science Ambassador Team, ISTE STEM PLN Leadership Team, and was elected in December, 2020, to the ISTE Board of Directors. She is passionate about STEM/STEAM, global education and media literacy. In addition to having coordinated the Chinese Exchange Program at Sharon High School for many years, she has journeyed with students to India, Peru and Tanzania, Africa.
Gretchen Kaser Corsillo (she/her) is the Director of Rutherford (NJ) Public Library and has worked in public libraries in a variety of capacities since 2003. In 2013, she received her Master’s of Library & Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh. She also holds a B.A. in Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing and a minor in Political Science from Ramapo College. Prior to working as a professional librarian, Gretchen worked in the marketing and legal fields; the latter, combined with her interest in writing, has made her a strong advocate for intellectual freedom.
Emily Cukier is a Science Librarian at Washington State University. Her interests include biology/life sciences, chemistry, human health and pharmacotherapy, data librarianship, and research ethics. Before coming to WSU, she has worked as a Senior Writer for BioCentury, a pharmaceutical trade publication, and as a nonproprietary naming consultant to the pharmaceutical industry.
Before joining Lynn University as an outreach librarian, Sabine was a teacher and librarian at YOUmedia Miami, a media technology program at the Miami-Dade Public Library System for teens and before that was a content specialist in programming and production with WPBT-TV South Florida PBS in Miami. Currently, she is an adjunct professor at Lynn University’s College of Communication and Design, and is one of the primary faculty advisors for the student newspaper, iPulse. As an outreach librarian at the Lynn Library, her research specialties and liaison area are to the Communication and Education students. Sabine is writing her first book on empathy-based library marketing and communications and how to be equitable and inclusive in libraries with ALA-ACRL. Her Master’s degree in Library and Information Science and Master’s degree in Mass Media and Journalism are from Clarion University in Pennsylvania.
Holly Eberle is the Teen Programming and Outreach Librarian at the Algonquin Area Public Library District in Illinois. She received her MLIS from the University of Illinois in December 2015. In addition to intellectual freedom, she is also passionate about the opioid epidemic and getting Narcan inside every public library.
Darryl Eschete was born in South Louisiana into a Cajun family, raised in the Bayou region of the state. His undergraduate degree is in journalism and has a deep and serious interest in First Amendment issues, including censorship, compelled speech, institutional neutrality and professional ethics. He has 20+ years of library work experience, including 10+ as a public library director.
Reanna Esmail is the Lead Librarian for Instruction at Cornell University. Working in Olin Library’s Research and Learning Services Department, she coordinates the library instruction sessions for incoming Arts & Sciences students, oversees Olin’s information literacy program, and serves as the Library Liaison to the Latinx Studies Program and the Asian American Studies Program. Prior to her promotion in July 2021, Reanna was the Outreach and Engagement Librarian at Cornell and a Digital Assets Management Intern at the Corning Museum of Glass. She holds an MS in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an MA in English from the Freie Universität Berlin, and a BA in English from the University of California, Berkeley. As a library instructor, Reanna is particularly interested in critical digital pedagogy and providing services for various campus communities, especially those that have historically been underserved and underrepresented.
Amanda Girard is the Collections, Access, and Facilities Information Specialist at Southern New Hampshire University. In this role, she provides reference support to a variety of students, both on campus and online, with an equally diverse set of information needs. She received her MLS from Simmons University in 2019, and is in the early stages of what she hopes is a life-long service to the academic library field. Amanda’s professional interests include information literacy, book challenges, and censorship. She also loves to explore primary sources in her spare time.
Jamie M. Gregory is a National Board Certified Teacher in Library Media. She is the recipient of the 2021 Media Literacy Teacher Award from the National Association for Media Literacy Education, the 2022 SCASL School Librarian of the Year, and the 2022 recipient of the Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award.
Jacqui Higgins-Dailey worked as a public librarian for 10 years before becoming full-time residential library faculty at Glendale Community College in Arizona. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Chico and a masters in library science from the University of North Texas. She is passionate about information literacy instruction and loves to read, write, hike and travel.
Michael Kirby is an Assistant Professor/Reader Services Librarian at Kingsborough Community College. He received his MLS from Queens College, the City University of New York and serves as the 2021-2022 Publications and Communications Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table.
Victoria Rahbar is an early career web services librarian. She has a Master of Arts in East Asian Studies from Stanford University’s Center for East Asian Studies and a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Washington iSchool. She conducts research on the global dissemination of Japanese anime, manga, and video games through a DEI lens. She applies her research to the needs of libraries, speaking on issues around cultural representation in manga at academic conferences and anime conventions. She is especially interested in how current digital publishing practices disrupt past ideas around censorship and challenges to manga.
Lisa M. Rand is a librarian in southeastern Pennsylvania and serves on the Intellectual Freedom Committee of the Pennsylvania Library Association. She has worked in a youth services in public libraries, with a special interest in creating safe, welcoming, inclusive spaces for teens. In May 2021 Lisa will complete her MLIS at Kent State University. Her research interests include library services for culturally diverse communities, LGBTQ+ literature for youth, and international questions of equity and access to information.
Rebecca holds an MLIS from the University of North Texas and is a former teacher and school library consultant. Though not currently working in a library, she continues to fight against censorship and advocate for intellectual freedom rights, especially for children’s literature. When she’s not wrangling her three children, Rebecca enjoys reading, running, writing, and roaming the world.
David Sye is a Research and Instruction Librarian at Murray State University in southwestern Kentucky. He is liaison for the History, Political Science & Sociology, and Psychology departments, as well as teaching instruction sessions and credit-bearing courses on information literacy. He holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Springfield, in addition to an MA in History and MLIS from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Prior to working at Murray State University, he has worked in public libraries and briefly taught middle school social studies.
Nia Thimakis is a substitute librarian in the Carroll County Public Library system in Maryland. She has been active on state and ALA divisions and round tables since 2016, and has had a strong opinion against banning books since she was young. Lucky enough to attend schools that believed in access to typically banned materials, and growing up in a house that supported uncensored reading, she believes access should not be a matter of luck or circumstance. She has experience in nonprofits, technical writing, instructional design, and has a love for exploring coffee shops with her daughter.
Eric Stroshane is the Library Services Manager at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood location. He is a past-president of the Mountain Plains Library Association and served on both the Intellectual Freedom Round Table’s Privacy Subcommittee and North Dakota Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee. He holds an MLS from Indiana University Bloomington, an MA in English from the University at Buffalo, and a BA in English from Pennsylvania State University. In his life beyond library walls, Eric is an electronic musician, mountain biker, kayaker, hiker, dog-lover, and yogi.