Freedom fighters

Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Marshall County Memorial Library Director Jan Allen, and John Rawe, chairman of the library board, were presented the Intellectual Freedom award on April 10 at the Tennessee Library Association's annual meeting. Sponsored by the TLA Intellectual Freedom Committee and Social Issues Resources Series Inc., the award is given annually to recognize an individual or group who has actively promoted intellectual freedom in Tennessee. In September 2006, a group of Marshall County residents protested against the library collecting materials in Spanish, insisting that the library provide only English language materials. There was a great deal of local and national media publicity. Throughout the controversy the library's director and board chairman displayed the highest level of professionalism in their response to the protest and in their defense of the library's obligation to provide materials that meet the needs of all the county's residents, according to the award. The conduct of Allen and Rawe was an inspiration to libraries in Tennessee and throughout the nation