By April 13, 2009 0 Comments Read More →

Judith Krug, R.I.P.

Arrived at work this morning to find an e-mail from Keith Michael Fiels, ALA’s executive director, announcing the death of Judith Krug, the founder of Banned Books Week and the director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom. There’s a brief note on AP (“Judith Krug, founder of Banned Books Week, dies“); click “read the rest of this entry” to read the full text of Fiels’ e-mail.

She will be missed.

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Judith Fingeret Krug, 69 passed away April 11, 2009 at Evanston Hospital.  Advisor, author and public servant, she was a remarkable leader in the struggle to educate the public concerning the right to the free expression of ideas.  Judy was an inspiration to all who knew her.

She was the Executive Director of the Freedom to Read Foundation and Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association for over forty years.    She worked tirelessly to guarantee the rights of individuals to express ideas and read the ideas of others without governmental interference.  Through her unwavering support of writers, teachers, librarians, and above all, students, she has advised countless numbers of librarians and trustees in dealing with challenges to library material.  She has been involved in multiple First Amendment cases that have gone all the way to the United States Supreme Court.  In addition, she was the founder of Banned Books Week, an annual week-long event that celebrates the freedom to choose and the freedom to express one’s opinion. 

During a time in our nation’s history when an individual’s rights to access information are constantly under attack, she worked to ensure the public’s right to know through traditional means, as well as through the Internet.  Her legacy is a lifetime of passionate commitment, advocacy, and affirmative actions to protect the Constitutional rights of citizens granted under the First Amendment.

Recipient of countless awards and offices including: the Joseph P. Lippincott Award, the Irita Van Doren Award, the Harry Kalven Freedom of Expression Award, and most recently the William J. Brennen, Jr. award, from the Thomas Jefferson Center for Free Expression.  In July, she will be honored by the Freedom to Read Foundation for her years of vision and leadership.  In addition, she served as a senator and Vice President of the Phi Beta Kappa society.

Born in Pittsburgh, Judith graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and received a Masters degree from the University of Chicago and a PhD from the University of Illinois.

She is survived by her husband Herbert and her loving children Steven (Denise) of Northbrook, and Michelle (David) Litchman of Glencoe and five adoring grandchildren: Jessica, Sydney, Hannah, Rachel and Jason.  Additionally, she is survived by her brothers, Jay (Ilene) Fingeret and Dr. Arnold (Denise) Fingeret of Pittsburgh PA, and her sister and brother-in-law, Shirley and Dr. Howard Katzman of Miami, FL. She was preceded in death by her sister Susan (Steve) Pavsner of Bethesda MD.

Services will be held at Beth Emet Synagogue, 1224 Dempster St., Evanston IL, Tuesday April 14th at 10:00a.m. followed by internment at Shalom Memorial Park.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Freedom to Read Foundation, 50 East Huron, Chicago Illinois 60611, or www.ftrf.org.

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About the Author:

Keir Graff is the editor of Booklist Online and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix.

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