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February 24, 2018

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Library News Release

Release Date: 12/27/2001

City Librarian Deborah L. Jacobs receives intellectual freedom award

Deborah L. Jacobs, city librarian of the Seattle Public Library, has been honored by the Washington State Council of Teachers of English for her lifetime commitment to fighting censorship.

The group named Jacobs its 2001 National Council of Teachers of English/Support for the Learning and Teaching of English (NCTE/SLATE) Affiliate Intellectual Freedom Award winner. Five other affiliate winners also were honored on Nov. 17 at the NCTE Annual Convention in Baltimore, Md.

The group praised Jacobs for her continuing efforts to combat censorship, citing her success as director of the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library in Oregon in defeating a ballot measure that would have banned library books by or about homosexuals. Jacobs also reaffirmed her commitment that libraries carry materials that reflect a wide variety of views by ordering more books that represented Christian and anti-gay philosophies.

In Seattle, she is leading a system-wide discussion about upholding intellectual freedom while offering the best possible service to all patrons. Part of that discussion revolves around how to respond to the new Children's Internet Protection Act, which requires libraries to install and maintain Internet filters on computer terminals, or lose federal funding.

"It's a special honor to be recognized for my involvement in intellectual freedom and first amendment issues," Jacobs said. "It's an important part of what I stand for as a librarian. I am firmly committed to the Library's mission to be an inclusive service representing a wide variety of interests, points of view and intellectual thought."

Jacobs, who has led the Seattle Public Library system since 1997, has received many honors, which include:

  • Honored as one of nine top public officials in the nation for 2001 by Governing magazine.
  • Honored nationally as a First Amendment Champion by the American Library Association in January 1999.
  • Invited in spring 1999 to teach a graduate course at the University of Washington to inspire a new generation of librarians.
  • Named Library Journal's Librarian of the Year in 1994.
  • Included in a Seattle Times editorial that named "remarkable people" who "added measurably to the quality of life in the Puget Sound region" in 1998.
  • Named Public Employee of the Year by the Municipal League of King County in March 1999.

For more information contact:

Andra Addison, communications director

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