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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Next chapter: the Office of Intellectual Freedom

The official announcement has now gone out: on January 4, 2016, I will assume the directorship of the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom, and the Freedom to Read Foundation.

I will be following the very able Barbara Jones, who has headed the OIF for the past 7 years. Before her was Judith Krug, who founded it. So I will be only the third person to hold the position - a great honor.

What does the job consist of? According to that press release:

As Director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), James LaRue will work with ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) and Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE), as well as the Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT). OIF provides information to individuals and organizations facing intellectual freedom challenges; plans and promotes initiatives that promote intellectual freedom, privacy and free access to information (including Banned Books Week); and, works closely with others, including the ALA Washington Office, on core information policy issues. The OIF Director also serves as the executive director of the Freedom to Read Foundation, an allied 501(c)(3) organization, and as secretariat for the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund.
Meanwhile, I'm moving to Chicago (New Year's road trip!), where I already snagged a little apartment just a couple of blocks from the Lake, and within walking distance of my new job). I will look for ways to get back to Colorado on long weekends and such. Suzanne, who is still working, will stay here.

In many ways, I feel that I have been training for this position all my life; it is in fact one of my life's passions. I've met my boss (Mary Ghikas), and my five-person staff, and I can tell they'll be great to work with.

So I find that I'm already "listening" to the world in different ways. If you have concerns about intellectual freedom - access to the content of our culture - I'd like to hear about them.

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