Zoia Horn, library icon, dies at 96

Intellectual Freedom Committee, Intellectual Freedom Issues

Zoia Horn, who was chair of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee in the mid-70s and who spent 20 days in jail rather than testify in a trial involving anti-Vietnam War activists, died Saturday at the age of 96. Horn’s autobiography, Zoia!, is available online via Archive.org, and includes a copious accounting of her activism.  The California Library Association’s annual intellectual freedom award is named in her honor.

“She lived what she believed,” said Barbara Jones, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom.  “She didn’t just talk about intellectual freedom and the freedom to read. She was on the front lines her whole career. She was an idol to many, many librarians.”

Library Juice has a short obituary.  And here is a great 2002 profile of her in the San Francisco Chronicle, written in the wake of the passage Patriot Act.  It’s notable that even in her last days, she asked her daughter, Catherine Marrion, to contact OIF in order to bring attention to her opposition to the 1977 ALA film The Speaker.

Marrion has indicated that there will be a memorial service in Oakland next month. We will pass along details when they become available.


  • Zoia Horn was also selected as an inaugural member of the California Library Hall of Fame in 2012. This is, indeed, a sad day for the profession.

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