CHICAGO – FReadom Fighters, started by a group of Texas school librarians, Becky Calzada, Carolyn Foote, and Nancy Jo Lambert, is the recipient of the 2022 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Intellectual Freedom Award. Established in 1982 and sponsored by ProQuest, the award is given for upholding the principles of intellectual freedom as set forth by AASL and ALA.
“In the face of what can oftentimes seem an uphill battle the FReadom Fighters have created a public awareness that highlights the positive impact of intellectual freedom and celebrates school libraries and school librarians,” says committee chair Christy James. “The committee was impressed by the immediate and innovative response, with an uplifting and supportive approach that will continue to grow as an ongoing initiative to support not just school librarians but students and parents.”
The school librarian FReadom Fighters organized a secret Twitter takeover on November 4, 2021 with the #Txlege hashtag. They highlighted positive books and invited families, authors, librarians, teens, and parents to join. The goal was to uplift librarians, highlight the power of children’s and YA literature, and highlight the role of school librarians in material selection so that the public and legislature would be more informed in the face of mounting book challenges.
Since then, the FReadom Fighters have created a Twitter account (twitter.com/FReadomFighters) with more than 6,000 global followers, a uniform hashtag used across the country (#FReadom), a website (www.freadom.us), and continue to create weekly actions to raise awareness of intellectual freedom and to defend the right to access to information for school library users.
The Texas Library Association shared their appreciation for the FReadom Fighters, “recognizing that it was critical to counter negative messages from elected officials with positive messages. These leaders have created a sense of community among school librarians, who often feel very alone in their jobs. Their work to uphold the principles of intellectual freedom in the face of enormous challenges has been incredibly important and inspiring, especially to the school library community. They are very deserving of this prestigious award,” said TLA executive director, Shirley Robinson, CAE.
Gloria Gonzales-Dholakia, Vice President of the Board of Trustees for Leander, ISD, said, “FReadom Fighters steadfast commitment to protecting every reader’s constitutional right to read is not only inspiring but is making a significant contribution to educating students and parents about the precious influences of school libraries.”
“It’s wonderful for the fight for intellectual freedom to be framed in the love of reading and sharing common experiences found in the pages of books that embrace the diverse communities we serve,” said AASL President Jennisen Lucas. “Giving students and parents an opportunity to join our fight is uplifting and reinforcing of the important work of school librarians.”
The AASL award winners will be recognized during the 2023 AASL National Conference taking place October 19-21 in Tampa, Florida.
The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.
Deputy Executive Director
American Association of School Librarians (AASL)
For original article, see: https://www.ala.org/news/member-news/2022/04/freadom-fighters-receives-aasl-intellectual-freedom-award