NYLA Intellectual Freedom Award


Intellectual Freedom means providing free access to all expressions of ideas through which any sides of a question, cause, or movement may be explored. Every individual has the right to seek out and receive information from all points of view without restrictions. Privacy is a critical and necessary component of Intellectual Freedom. This award recognizes an individual or group for their contribution to and support of intellectual freedom.


The recipient of the NYLA Intellectual Freedom Award shall be selected based on one or more of the following:

Each nominee:
•    Shall be an individual, or representative of a group of individuals, or an organization (preferably a NYS resident or organization) who supports Intellectual Freedom and Individual Privacy Rights.
•    Should be engaged in activities affecting information access in the State of New York and/or nationally.
•    Works towards furthering the cause of intellectual freedom in the state and/or nationally.
•    Should strive to promote/protect patron privacy to support Intellectual Freedom endeavors.

•    Developed an innovative information program on intellectual freedom and privacy principles. (CE)
•    Upheld intellectual freedom and privacy principles in the face of a challenge.
•    Contributed to the literature of the field (print or non-print).
•    active in establishing and or continuing a coalition relating to intellectual freedom and privacy principles at a local, state, or national level.
•    Active in participating on committees, roundtables, and other actions working toward the spirit of intellectual freedom and privacy principles.

Current Intellectual Freedom Committee members may not be considered while serving.

Application Deadline: July 15th and is not mandatory to be awarded annually. Applications OPEN in May/June.

Sponsored by the Intellectual Freedom Committee and Intellectual Freedom Round Table, the award will be presented at a designated function during the annual NYLA conference held each November.

The NYLA Intellectual Freedom Award sub-committee will review the nominations and submit a recommendation to the NYLA Council.


The recipient will receive an engraved plaque in gratitude for professional service, and to be presented at the NYLA Annual Conference and Trade Show. The recipient will be acknowledged on NYLA's website, at the Annual Conference, and in the NYLA Voice.

Previous Winners

  • 2023 - Emilie Bastian, Library Media Specialist, Clyde-Savannah Junior/Senior High and Matthew Drahms, Clyde-Savannah School District Teacher
  • 2022 - Elizabeth Portillo
  • 2020 - James Neal
  • 2019 - Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
  • 2018 - Ned Davis
  • 2016 - Alison Macrina, Library Freedom Project
  • 2012 - Norman Siegel
  • 2011 - American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE)
  • 2010 - National Coalition Against Censorship
  • 2009 - Lewis Lapham, Lapham's Quarterly
  • 2008 - Colette Titkin, Liberty Elementary School
  • 2007 - Herbert Kurz, Presidential Life Insurance Company
  • 2006 - Finkelstein Memorial Library
  • 2005 - Todd Friedman
  • 2004 - Madelyn Folino
  • 2003 - Rockland Coalition for Democracy and Freedom
  • 2002 - Lisa Distelburger
  • 2002 - Jeanne Heifetz
  • 2001 - Andrew Dancer
  • 2000 - Dr. Jeffrey Bowen
  • 1999 - Fran Aveta
  • 1998 - Clifford Dietrich
  • 1997 - John B. Haney
  • 1996 - The Lancaster Five
  • 1995 - William K. Sanford Town Library
  • 1994 - Sam Simon
  • 1993 - Anna Quindlen
  • 1992 - Library Media Specialists of the Webster Central School District
  • 1991 - Carol Reid
  • 1990 - Dr. Sean A. Fanelli
  • 1989 - Long Island Coalition Against Censorship
  • 1988 - Marie Bruni
  • 1987 - Merrick Public Library
  • 1986 - David Cohen
  • 1985 - Gerald R. Shields
  • 1984 - Robert Trudell