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Freedom to Read Foundation Announces Fall 2019 Course Scholarship Recipients

Monica Cammack and Joann Elmiger are the recipients of the Freedom to Read Foundation’s Intellectual Freedom Course Scholarship. The recipients will receive funding toward intellectual freedom courses at San Jose State University (SJSU) and the University of Illinois (U of I) at Urbana Champaign. 

“Providing scholarship funds to students who are interested in taking intellectual freedom classes is one of the most important roles we have as members of the Education Committee,” said Valerie Nye, past chair of the FTRF Education Committee.  “We were happy to have so many qualified applicants, and we are thrilled to offer the scholarships to Monica Cammack and Joann Elmiger as they pursue their library school degrees. We hope that the scholarship funds will be a first step in encouraging their engagement with intellectual freedom issues in libraries throughout their careers.” 

SJSU student Joann Elmiger of Indian Harbour Beach, Florida received the scholarship to take the course at SJSU. She has worked in public libraries for 20 years. “This course will educate me about navigating ethical issues surrounding the First Amendment and ways to promote intellectual freedom, including combating censorship, as a core professional value,” said Elmiger.  “As a responsible advocate of free speech, I am excited for the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from other LIS (library and information science) professionals in order to promote awareness and continue the fight for intellectual freedom.”

Elmiger will take the 3-credit course offered by Professor Carrie Gardner through the SJSU iSchool between August 21 and December 9, 2019. Gardner has taught intellectual freedom courses since 2002, and her courses explore topics ranging from the legal foundation of the First Amendment to intellectual freedom history, policies, ethics, and privacy, and the ways these topics intersect in libraries. Students interested in the course can visit the SJSU iSchool webpage or call (408) 924-2490 for more information.  

Monica Cammack of Metairie, Louisiana was awarded a scholarship to attend the course through the U of I. She is currently enrolled in the Louisiana State University Master of Library and Information Science Program.  “In the middle school humanities classes I teach, we explore human rights conflicts, and we discuss the United States’ belief in counter speech instead of silence,” said Emerson. “I strive to include diverse voices and media choices in my curriculum, and I encourage my students to innovate and exercise autonomy, because they are extraordinary individuals with a unique perspective. I will invest my students in the curriculum so that they will be well-informed upstanders for intellectual freedom and  they will motivate others to exercise and protect intellectual rights.”

iSchool at Illinois Professor Emily Knox offers the 2-credit synchronous online course, “Intellectual Freedom and Censorship.” Her course approaches intellectual freedom as an ethical issue based in interpretations of the First Amendment of the United States and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. It meets from October 22 through December 10, 2019. Students interested in the course can contact Karla Lucht, [email protected] or visit

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