The Gift of Voice and a Legacy to Uphold

Midwinter Meeting/Annual Conference

Conable Scholarship recipient Aubrey Madler will be blogging her thoughts about the ALA Annual Conference throughout the week.  This is the third installment.

Several days in and I have exhausted myself–that must a good sign, right?

I heard several times this week–including Sunday morning’s session about a high profile book challenge, and in the afternoon session regarding self-censorship– that it is easy to talk or read about things that are easy–things that are accepted by the majority. Yet, the First Amendment helps us work through topics and issues that may not be so comfortable to accept.  It gives the minority a voice–a chance to be heard and understood. How incredible is that? Isn’t this the basis of a democracy? Libraries play such an important role in giving the minority the gift of a voice and in helping them to share this voice so that they may be understood.

After a full day of sessions, I had the chance to meet Irene and Ted Conable, wife and son of the late Gordon M. Conable, who were both so welcoming and generous–after all, they are the reason I am here. They affectionately reminisced about their life with “Gordie”, whom I am disappointed to have never met. More than ever, I am energized and motivated to continue acting on behalf of intellectual freedom and the freedom to read in honor of his legacy. I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to learn about defending our right to read, share ideas, and access information, and to meet those that Gordon had to leave behind.