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New Intellectual Freedom Bloggers For 2017

The Intellectual Freedom Blog has a new lineup of contributors for 2017. Founded in 2007, the blog has a history of top-notch, quality writers, and the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) plans to continue the tradition. The blog squad consists of several members that alternate responsibilities for creating blog content about censorship, privacy, internet filtering, labeling and many other intellectual freedom topics.

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Jill Brown
is the director at Millington (Mich.) Arbela District Library. Originating from a background of fighting for physical freedoms while running a shelter for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, Brown has since turned her efforts to intellectual freedom as she transitioned into the public library world. A graduate of Wayne State University’s School of Library and Information Science, Brown has continued the good fight during her years as a rural Michigan library director. Her interests include self-censorship, collection development practices in public libraries and banned books. Brown sees all of life as an adventure, but especially enjoys the kind that gets her into the outdoors: hiking and biking. Evidence of Brown’s passion for intellectual freedom can be seen on her right-leg tattoo of Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” cover. She can be reached at jbrown@millingtonlibrary.info.

Cathy Collins has worked as a media specialist/librarian for 15 years. She is currently a library media specialist at Sharon (Mass.) High School, where she has worked for the past five years. She began her career as a reporter who covered business, arts and education-related issues. While interviewing the headmaster at a private school, she realized that she wanted to combine her love of research and writing with a career in education. At that point, she returned to school for a Masters in Library Science and further graduate studies in educational leadership. Collins has published her writing in various journals, including Library Media Connection and NEA Today, and education-related blogs and websites, including AASL’s Knowledge Quest. She is a 2012 Reynolds High School Journalism Institute Fellow and project consultant for the e-book, “Searchlights and Sunglasses: Journalism in the Digital Age.” She received a “Teachers for Global Classrooms” fellowship from the U.S. State Department in 2014, and she is the recipient of AASL’s 2014 Intellectual Freedom Award. She served on the MassCUE Board as PD chair since 2013, as well as the NEISTE Board. She was named an MSLA “Super Librarian” in 2014 and earned National Board Certification as a library/media teacher in 2009. She received the HNA “Teacher of the Year” award in 2015 for excellence in teaching about China. In her spare time, she enjoys nature walks, reading, world travel and yoga. Find her on Twitter @TechGypsy11.

Robert Fernandez is a faculty librarian at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida, and a member of the Florida Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee. A member of the Board of Directors of Wikimedia District of Columbia, Fernandez has been active on Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects since 2004 and is part of the efforts to get more librarians to participate on Wikipedia. Find him on Twitter @wikigamaliel.

John “Mack” Freeman is the marketing and programming coordinator for the West Georgia Regional Library. He is a past recipient of the Freedom to Read Foundation’s Conable Scholarship, and he was a 2015 ALA Emerging Leader. Freeman currently co-chairs the GLBTRT’s Stonewall Book Award Committee and is the second vice president/membership chair of the Georgia Library Association. He is interested in privacy, self-censorship, new frontiers of intellectual freedom and services to underserved communities. You can find out more about him at johnmackfreeman.com. When not in library world, he enjoys walking Micah, the laziest blueheeler in the world, going on adventures with his husband Dale, and cooking Italian food from unintentionally snobby mid-century cookbooks. Find him on Twitter @johnmackfreeman.

Sarah Hicks is a current MLIS student at the University of Pittsburgh and works in a local public library. She has long been passionate about issues regarding intellectual freedom and believes these issues are becoming increasingly important worldwide, especially those related to privacy, surveillance and censorship. Perhaps unsurprisingly, as certain stereotypes about librarians are not wholly untrue, she is both an avid reader (of many genres) and a total cat lady. Hicks can sometimes be found @exactlibrarian.

Frederic Murray is the head of Instructional Services at the Al Harris Library, Southwestern Oklahoma State University. He is a tenured faculty member and as an academic librarian, has initiated the growth and expansion of information literacy classes across the campus curriculum. He has presented at state, national and international conferences in the areas of library pedagogy, digital textbooks and the development of curriculum for Native American Studies. He serves as the managing editor for Administrative Issues Journal, a peer-reviewed, open access journal in its sixth year of publication. He believes deeply in the value of books and the inherent strength found in the human voice. Among his favorite authors are Lenny Bruce, Jimmy Santiago Baca and Carson McCullers. He can be reached at frederic.murray@swosu.edu.

Valerie Nye is the library director at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. She has been active in local and national library organizations, recently serving on ALA Council, the New Mexico Library Association and the New Mexico Consortium of Academic Libraries. Nye has co-written or co-edited four books, including “True Stories of Censorship Battles in America’s Libraries” published by ALA Editions in 2012. “True Stories” is a compilation of essays written by librarians who have experienced challenges to remove material held in their libraries’ collections. She has an MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In her time away from the library she enjoys road trips in convertibles and kayaking on lakes.

Pat Peters is director of the Decatur Public Library, Decatur, Texas. In her spare time, she is an adjunct professor of Library Science for Texas Woman’s University, having taught both graduate and undergraduate Children’s Literature and Youth Programming. Pat is the 2016-17 chair of the Texas Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee. Pat and her husband Jeff live in Denton, Texas. Pat can sometimes be found @PatriciaP628.

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