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Press Release

For Immediate Release

University of Toronto Librarian Kent Weaver receives Award for the Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada

(Ottawa, ON – May 7,  2010) - The Canadian Library Association (CLA) is honoured to announce Kent Weaver as the 2010 recipient of the Award for the Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada.

CLA is proud to honour Kent Weaver with the 2010 Award for the Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada. This nomination is based on Mr Weaver’s demonstrated commitment to intellectual freedom for academic librarians, and marks the first time an academic librarian has received CLA’s recognition for this Award. Mr Weaver is Manager of Systems Operations, Information Technology Services, at the University of Toronto Library.

Kent has shown unprecedented national leadership in advocacy for the importance of academic librarians to the academic enterprise. Librarians require the same standard of academic freedom as teaching faculty in order to be able to exercise independent judgment in their professional responsibilities. Denying them that freedom impacts library users and society at large.

Kent has tirelessly supported, promoted, and educated about the need to uphold longstanding traditions of academic librarians pursuing research and scholarship, attaining tenure or permanent status, and remaining as partners with professors and other members of academic staff associations. In so doing, he has helped to raise the issue of librarian parity with other academic colleagues and bring it to the surface in national level discussions and debate.

Kent has served for many years as a member on, and twice chaired, the Librarians Committee of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT). He has also served on CAUT’s Executive Council, and his work on behalf of academic librarians has made him an instrumental figure in raising the profile of librarianship with CAUT. Under his leadership, CAUT developed the 2008 Policy Statement on Library Councils, which opens with the important directive that, “The Library Council shall be mandated as a planning and policy-making body, not merely as an information-sharing committee. Discussion at the council shall include any issue which has an impact on the librarians, the library, or the post-secondary educational institution as a whole.” This policy was designed to speak to the academic librarian’s role in the shared governance of the collegium.

As a result of his activist and trusted work with CAUT, Kent was selected as co-investigator for a CAUT Ad Hoc Investigatory Committee charged with looking into concerns about academic freedom and other academic staff rights of librarians employed by McGill University Library. In this weighty role, over an 18-month period of investigative work, Kent’s support of intellectual freedom for academic librarians went beyond the call of duty. His commitment to help in a very complicated, difficult case illustrates his dedication to upholding intellectual freedom, even in the face of possible personal and professional risk.

Finally, while Kent’s work through CAUT has directly impacted academic librarians across Canada, it is noted that the question of intellectual freedom for public and school librarians is closely related to stronger rights for academic librarians in this area.

The Award for the Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada recognizes and honours outstanding contributions to intellectual freedom in Canada by individuals or groups. Preference is given to librarians and library institutions. However like-minded individuals such as teachers or authors or groups such as schools or publishers are also eligible. The award is given from time-to-time, not necessarily on an annual basis, and there may be more than one recipient in any one year.

Previous Recipients:

2009      Kim Bolan
2008      Nancy Branscombe & Gina Barber


2007

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression

2006

June Callwood

2005

David Wyman

2004

Monique Désormeaux

2003

James Chamberlain

2002

Peter Carver/Nancy Fleming/Sarah Thring

2000

Little Sister's Book and Art Emporium

1999

Board & Staff of the Greater Victoria Public Library

1997

Alvin M. Schrader

1996

Burlington Public Library

1988

Les Fowlie & the Toronto Public Library Board

The Canadian Library Association/Association canadienne des bibliothèques is Canada’s largest national and broad-based library association, representing the interests of public, academic, school and special libraries, professional librarians and library workers and all those concerned about enhancing the quality of life of Canadians through information and literacy.

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Media Contact:  Dr. Alvin M. Schrader, Convenor 
Email: alvin.schrader@ualberta.ca


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