For its principled stance regarding the recent controversy over certain Young Adult books, the West Bend Community Memorial Library has been awarded the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award by the faculty of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. From the press release:
The faculty voted overwhelmingly to give this year’s award to the West Bend Library for its steadfast advocacy on behalf of intellectual freedom in the face of a library challenge that garnered national attention. The efforts of the library board, Library Director Michael Tyree, the library staff, and many supportive community members are to be commended.
“The West Bend librarians, library board, and library supporters demonstrated the strong and steadfast advocacy on behalf of intellectual freedom that is the focus of the Downs Award. Despite the enormous media attention that the controversy received, they were unwavering in their support of the public library’s responsibility to provide a diverse collection to serve *all* community members,” said Christine Jenkins, GSLIS associate professor and director of the Center for Children’s Books.
This is the second major award bestowed on the West Bend library and its supporters: in August, the Intellectual Freedom Round Table of the Wisconsin Library Association named them as winners of the 2009 Wisconsin ProQuest Intellectual Freedom Award.