Funding: Library Freedom Project Receives $1 Million Grant Award From the Mellon Foundation to Advance Critical Privacy and Democracy Training
Library Freedom Project (LFP) has been awarded $1,000,000 from the Mellon Foundation to expand the program’s work. For eight years, LFP has developed and delivered curriculum on information democracy and privacy infrastructure, and fostered cohorts of librarian experts across the United States in network partnerships that support them as they stand against social injustice and advance the public good. This award will significantly expand the organization’s capacity to continue creating a network of values-driven librarian-activists, taking action together to build information democracy and resist oppressive systems.
“This support heralds a turning point for Library Freedom Project, where we’ll be able to take our highly successful work to library communities at scale through the new regional hub model. At a time when libraries are facing hyper-partisan attacks on our foundational values, librarians need to be able to connect and strategize with fellow workers in a supportive environment. We couldn’t be more excited to create these spaces.”
– Alison Macrina, Library Freedom Project, Director.
Under the direction of Alison Macrina, LFP has trained thousands of library workers and administrators on practical privacy skills, intellectual freedom, access, social responsibility, and the public good, while centering LFP’s core values of social justice, anti-racism, and anti-oppression. LFP members have established themselves as leaders in privacy and library ethics, maintaining informational resources available through the LFP website and wiki. The Mellon Public Knowledge program funding, in combination with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, will allow the LFP to make significant progress on high-level goals in strategic planning, outreach and external community building, internal LFP community development, and expansion of LFP resources.
Macrina is currently conducting interviews for two staff positions that the award will fund. The staffing increase will allow for a dedicated staff person to focus on building relationships across library, privacy advocacy, and civil rights spaces, and one fundraiser to cultivate diverse funding sources to support the ongoing work.
Crucially, the new funding makes possible expansion into regional hubs that will foster local community-building efforts in semi-fixed locations in major US regions. These hubs will train, support, and coordinate between libraries and librarians, as they defend themselves against the ongoing, coordinated attacks from reactionary anti-LGBT groups.
“As a member of Library Freedom Project, our commitment to putting our ideals into action is uniquely effective and has been a source of inspiration and collaboration for me. LFP’s upcoming establishment of regional hubs provides an exciting opportunity for me to strengthen LFP’s existing local professional partnerships while connecting with regional LFP members on identifying new opportunities to mutually support each other on shared objectives. In order to rise to the challenges facing libraries, our communities, and our democratic process, it is more important than ever that we build this infrastructure together.”
– Andrea Puglisi (she/her), LFP Member and Digital Initiatives/Technology Librarian at Westfield State University
“Library Freedom Project created a space for me to community-build and embed our value systems into our daily work. It’s endlessly exciting to learn and grow alongside fellow library workers as we fight for privacy and intellectual freedom across the country.“
– Meghan McGowan, LFP Member, Detroit
“Library Freedom [Project] as administered by Alison Macrina and Howard Besser has been one of the most impactful grants awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The program’s development of a curriculum for training librarians focused on privacy awareness and privacy advocacy has given libraries and librarians a solid foundation and perspective to inform communities about one of the most important issues in the society of the United States, privacy and security. The cohort-based model of this work exemplifies the importance of community building, networking, and resource sharing.”
– James Neal, program officer at IMLS
“LFP’s regional hubs will build and strengthen communities and their work focusing on privacy advocacy and training for libraries. As a member of LFP and current President of the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA), we look forward to developing more partnerships in training privacy advocates supporting community members, especially from underserved and marginalized groups.”
– Ray Pun, LFP Member
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.