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March 15: The Free Speech Librarian

March 15, 2013

15krug190Judith Fingeret Krug, a librarian who fought against the banning of books and censorship of the Internet, was born in Pittsburgh on this date in 1940. In 1967, Krug became director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, which promotes intellectual freedom in libraries, and in 1969 she became executive director of its Freedom to Read Foundation, which raises money to further First Amendment issues in court cases. In 1982, she helped to launch Banned Books Week, an annual event featuring authors reading from prohibited books. Among the books she defended against censorship were Huckleberry Finn, Mein Kampf, Little Black Sambo, Catcher in the Rye, and the John Birch Society's The Blue Book, and several sex manuals. In 1997, she organized a network of civil liberties groups to help persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down provisions of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. She also fought against the Patriot Act's provision permitting the federal government to requisition the library records of any and all denizens of the U.S. Krug died at 69 in 2009.

"Library service in this country should be based on the concept of intellectual freedom, of providing all pertinent information so a reader can make decisions for himself.” —Judith Krug

JEWDAYO ROCKS! Songwriter Howard Greenfield, whose wrote or co-wrote "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do," "Love Will Keep Us Together," and "Foolish Little Girl," among other hits, was born on this date in 1936. Also, Marshall Lieb, who with Phil Spector and lead singer Annette Kleinbard formed the Teddy Bears ("To Know Him Is To Love Him"), died on this date in 2002. To see the Teddy Bears singing their hit, look below.