AASL President’s Program: Freedom to Read Ambassadors

If you will be at ALA Annual, you will not want to miss the AASL President’s Program: Freedom to Read Ambassadors.

All of us are aware of the huge increase in book challenges, the onslaught of laws to limit school librarians’ ability to provide access to their learners, and the attacks on school librarians. Yet, numerous surveys show that most Americans oppose book banning. School librarians want to support their learners’ freedom to read; however, they cannot do it alone. They need support.

That is why I have brought together this illustrious group of individuals for a panel to talk about why it is important for our learners to have access to diverse books and how we can engage and activate individuals across the library ecosystem, the publishing community, the educational community, and the public to speak up and to become a community of Freedom to Read Ambassadors.

The panelists include:

Kelly Yang is the New York Times bestselling author of many books including Finally Seen, New From Here and the Front Desk series, winner of the 2019 Asian Pacific American Award for Children’s Literature, and the honorary chair of 2023 National Library Week

Dr. Sonja Cherry-Paul is an educator, author, curriculum developer and facilitator committed to advancing the work of anti-racism. She is the founder of Red Clay Educators and adapter of the #1 New York Times bestselling book Stamped (For Kids).

Amanda Jones, is a School Librarian, the President of the Louisiana Association of School Librarians, the AASL Chapter Assembly Secretary, and co-chair of the AASL 2023 National Conference. She is Assistant Director of the Louisiana Citizens Against Censorship and she is the recipient of AASL’s 2023 Intellectual Freedom Award, ALA Paul Howard Award for Courage, and Intellectual Freedom Round Table John Immroth Award.

Becky Calzada, is the District Library Coordinator in Leander, Texas, a co-founding member of #FREADom Fighters, and recognized by People magazine as one of the 2023 Women Changing the World. The #Freadom Fighters received the 2022 AASL Intellectual Freedom and Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Awards. Becky is an ALA Policy Corp member and the newly elected AASL President-Elect.

Intellectual Freedom is every learner’s right.  I know that we will have a great conversation about engaging others to join the fight to protect this right.  I believe that the conversation will uplift and inspire us.

I hope to see you all there!

Author: Kathy Lester, AASL President 2022-2023

Categories: Intellectual Freedom

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