The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) of the American Library Association (ALA) announces that Pam Klipsch is the recipient of the 2015 John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award.
Klipsch has vigorously defended intellectual freedom throughout her library career. For decades, she has served on the major committees and round tables within ALA devoted to intellectual freedom—the Intellectual Freedom Committee and IFRT. She has served five terms on ALA’s Council and was IFRT’s very first Councilor on ALA’s Council. Over many years, she has supported the Freedom to Read Foundation and has served on its board. She has authored and edited many of the Library Bill of Rights Interpretations, which are guiding principles of the library profession.
Klipsch has advocated for helping people who challenge controversial material to see how library principles concerning intellectual freedom reflect their own personal values, instead of treating such challengers as opponents. This philosophical foundation allowed her to work with elected officials across the political spectrum in securing passage of groundbreaking privacy legislation in her home state of Missouri, where she is the director of the Jefferson County Library.
Klipsch worked with Missouri State Representative John McCaherty to introduce – and then pass – a bill in 2014 to extend the privacy rights of library patrons to include third-party vendors that contract with the library in providing services requiring access to patron information (usually, authenticating in a library’s database that a patron is indeed a library cardholder). According to this law, any personally identifiable information about resources that patrons access through a third-party vendor is as protected and confidential on the vendor side as on the library side of the transaction. This statute stands as a model approach to privacy in the digital age.
For her long defense of intellectual freedom and for this legislative achievement, Klipsch is being recognized with the 2015 Immroth Award.
This year’s award will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco at the IFRT Awards Reception from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Friday, June 26.
The John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award honors intellectual freedom fighters in and outside the library profession who have demonstrated remarkable personal courage in resisting censorship. The award consists of $500 and a citation. Individuals, a group of individuals or an organization are eligible for the award. The award was first presented in 1976.