NYLA Intellectual Freedom Award


Intellectual Freedom means providing free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all 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 for 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 with the purpose of supporting 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.
Other    The NYLA Intellectual Freedom Committee will establish an Award Sub-Committee to include a member of the Intellectual Freedom Roundtable. In advance of the deadline date, the task of the sub-committee will be to solicit recommendations through a variety of regular library publications.

NYLA Intellectual Freedom Award Nomination Form 

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

Application Deadline: July 15th and is not mandatory to be awarded annually.

Nominations will be appropriately documented in news releases, supporting letters, etc.

Sponsored by 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.

In advance, the recipient must be informed of the award presentation to accommodate acceptance of the award.

The presentation attendance will include:
•    the recipient as guest speaker
•    NYLA President
•    members of the sponsoring groups


The recipient will receive an engraved plaque with a check in the amount of $500 in gratitude for professional service, and to be presented at the NYLA Annual Conference and Trade Show.

Recipient will be acknowledged on NYLA's website, at the Annual Conference, and in the NYLA Voice.


Previous Winners

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