Intellectual Freedom Award: Call for Candidates

Posted: June 12, 2008 in Intellectual Freedom

GSLIS Seeks Nominations for Downs Intellectual Freedom Award
June 9, 2008

The Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at the University of Illinois seeks nominations for the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award. The deadline for nominations is October 15, 2008.

Given annually, the award acknowledges individuals or groups who have furthered the cause of intellectual freedom, particularly as it impacts libraries and information centers and the dissemination of ideas. Granted to those who have resisted censorship or efforts to abridge the freedom of individuals to read or view materials of their choice, the award may be in recognition of a particular action or long-term interest in, and dedication to, the cause of intellectual freedom.

The Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award was established in 1969 by the GSLIS faculty to honor Dean Emeritus Downs, a champion of intellectual freedom, on the occasion of his 25th anniversary as director of the School. Previous winners have included Barbara M. Jones, Wesleyan University Librarian, who was honored for her international work on behalf of intellectual freedom (2007); Michele Reutty, who refused to turn over patron records without a subpoena (2006); John Doe of the court case “John Doe v. Gonzales” (2005); Whatcom County Library System (2004); June Pinnell-Stephens, Collections Services Manager for Fairbanks North Star Borough Public Library, Fairbanks, Alaska, and Mainstream Montgomery County, a Montgomery County Texas organization (2003); retired librarian Zoia Horn and Ginnie Cooper and the Multnomah County Library Board of Trustees (Portland, Oregon) (2002).

Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc., Westport, Connecticut, provides an honorarium to the recipient and co-hosts the reception in honor of the recipient. The reception and award ceremony for the 2008 Downs Intellectual Freedom Award will take place in January 2009 during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Denver, Colorado.

Letters of nomination and documentation about the nominee should be sent by e-mail to with a copy to or in paper form to John Unsworth, Dean, GSLIS, 501 East Daniel Street, Champaign, IL 61820 before October 15. Questions should be directed to Associate Professor Terry Weech at


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