Nancy Branscombe and Gina Barber, City Councilors and Library Board Members from London, ON, are the 2008 recipients of the Award for the Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada.
The CLA press release clearly states that librarians were the advocates for internet filtering:
The initial impetus for the London Public Library filtering plan did not come from an outside group or from a group of employees, but from library management, on the grounds that extending filtering was necessary to protect against inadvertent exposure to inappropriate images. Although alternatives to filtering were suggested, such as reconfigured furniture arrangements, better use of privacy screens, and enforcement of existing rules of conduct, and intellectual freedom considerations were stressed, many influential community members and organizations supported filtering, and the issue remained contested at a series of London Public Library Board meetings
Toni Samek, Convenor of the Advisory Committee on Intellectual Freedom, said that the award will be presented at the CLA conference in Vancouver. Sam Trosow, Associate Professor at the University of Western Ontario, will organize some sort of celebratory event in London to recognize and honor the recipients.
This award is a great idea. Most of my posts are about things that suck and erode intellectual freedom. It’s important to acknowledge when people stick their neck out, and do unpopular things to protect intellectual freedom. I’m sure the London Public Library Board meetings were extremely uncomfortable and that this was a politically risky thing to stand up for.
I’m going to try and interview them, so if you have any questions you would like me to ask, please leave them in the comments section.
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