Intellectual Freedom Award

Leigha Burnham

2018 Intellectual Freedom Award Winner: 
Kingston Elementary School
Bartow County

The Georgia Library Media Association Intellectual Freedom of Information Award recognizes an individual for upholding the principles of intellectual freedom as set forth by the American Library Association of School Librarians (AASL) and the American Library Association (ALA).

Nominations are open to all Georgia school librarians who are current members of the Georgia Library Media Association.


Nominees should meet at least one of the following criteria: 

  • Has developed and implemented an exemplary selection policy or challenge procedure.

  • Has developed an innovative information program on intellectual freedom.

  • Has upheld intellectual freedom principles in the face of a challenge.

  • Has contributed to the literature of the field (print or non-print).

  • Has been active in the establishment and/or continuation of a coalition relating to intellectual freedom at a local, state or national level.


  • Organizations or individuals may make nominations. Self-nominations are now accepted. 

  • Nominees must be members of GLMA. 

  • Please note that all references to space limiters (ex: 2500) are in reference to characters, not words.

  • The School, District, and School Librarian's name should only appear on the front page and NOT the narrative for blind-judging.

  • Names of the school, district, and school librarian should appear ONLY on the front page, not the narrative, in order to ensure impartial judging.

  • The Fall deadline is November 19, 2019. 


2017 AASL Intellectual Freedom Award Recipient: Amy Bradley

“Amy and her secretary removed every single book from the shelves of the middle school’s library prior to the start of Banned Books Week,” said Rebecca Hunt, award committee chair. “She wanted to show students what the library would look like if intellectual freedom did not exist. Students questioned the empty shelves and were given activities that explained Banned Books Week and the right to read. Of course, the books were returned to the shelves, but not without educating the staff and students on the importance of having the right to choose their reading materials.”

“Mrs. Bradley consistently challenges our students to think beyond the doors of Risley,” wrote Principal Lori Joiner in her letter of support. “Her empty shelves strategy tested the students to think of the struggles of others. Amy’s real-world applications had an impact on the school community. The children asked repeatedly ‘Where are the books – really?’ with real concern. They thought they were truly gone. All we would say is that they were banned.”

“Some of the students actually got upset,” said Bradley during an interview with the Brunswick News. “Two had tears in their eyes. We have to make the books available so the children have the information they need. To me, a child who reads becomes an adult who thinks, and if we take away their resources, they can’t think.”

AASL award winners were honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony & President’s Program during the 2017 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. See the AASL press release here.

Congratulations Amy!

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