Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is pleased to announce James G. Neal and Jonathan Bloom are the recipients of the 2015 Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) Roll of Honor Awards, presented by the Freedom to Read Foundation. According to the FTRF’s press release, the award will be presented at the 2015 American Library Association Annual Conference during its Opening General Session from 4:00-5:15 p.m. on Friday, June 26, in San Francisco.
“I am pleased to announce James G. Neal will be joining the Foundation’s Roll of Honor,” said Doyle. “Jim is a natural leader -- thoughtful, effective, and dedicated to the Foundation’s mission. As a board member and treasurer, he has increased FTRF's membership, guided the organization in establishing sound policies and procedures, and represented the Foundation in numerous public forums with his wit and clear articulation of First Amendment principles.”
James G. Neal, recently retired vice president for information services and university librarian at Columbia University, is a key leader in the library community as an advocate for intellectual freedom and the role of libraries in First Amendment and freedom of information issues. At Columbia, he focused on the development of the digital library, special collections, global resources, instructional technology, library facility construction and renovation, electronic scholarship, and fundraising programs. Previously, he served as the dean of university libraries at Indiana University and Johns Hopkins University, and held administrative positions in the libraries at Penn State University, University of Notre Dame, and the City University of New York.
Neal serves on the council and executive board of the American Library Association (ALA). He has served on the board and as president of the Association of Research Libraries, on the board and as chair of the Research Libraries Group, and on the board and as chair of the National Information Standards Organization. He is on the boards of the Freedom to Read Foundation, the Digital Preservation Network, Columbia University Press, and is a member of the OCLC board of trustees. He also has participated on numerous international, national, and state professional committees, and is an active member of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.
He has represented the American library community in testimony on copyright matters before Congressional committees, was an advisor to the U.S. delegation at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) diplomatic conference on copyright, has worked on copyright policy and advisory groups for universities and for professional and higher education associations, and during 2005-08 was a member of the U.S. Copyright Office Section 108 Study Group.
Neal was selected as the 1997 Academic Librarian of the Year by the Association of College and Research Libraries and was the 2007 recipient of ALA’s Hugh Atkinson Memorial Award. In 2009 he received the ALA Melvil Dewey Medal Award and this year he will be awarded ALA's Joseph W. Lippincott Award for "distinguished service to the profession of librarianship." In 2010, he received the honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Alberta.
“I am very pleased to announce Jonathan Bloom as this year’s Roll of Honor co-awardee,” said Roll of Honor Committee Chair Robert P. Doyle. “Jonathan’s stellar defense of the First Amendment makes him a natural addition to this premier list of First Amendment advocates. His work has helped forge strong and lasting bonds within the American book community – the creators, publishers, and disseminators of the printed word -- in defense of the First Amendment.”
Jonathan Bloom, counsel to Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in their New York office and a former trustee of the Freedom to Read Foundation, specializes in media and First Amendment and intellectual property law. His practice includes counseling and litigation on behalf of news organizations, the Association of American Publishers Inc. (for which he acts as counsel to the Freedom to Read Committee), individual book publishers, entertainment companies, Internet service providers, and other clients in the areas of copyright, trademark infringement, misappropriation, defamation, and a wide range of First Amendment and related issues.
He has written amicus briefs advocating First Amendment rights on behalf of the Association of American Publishers and other media and free-speech organizations, including the Freedom to Read Foundation, in appeals involving Son of Sam laws, prior restraint, the application of consumer protection law to dietary advice publications, and defamation claims against works of satire and fiction. He has written or co-written amicus briefs in several Supreme Court First Amendment cases, including Reno v. ACLU, Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, United States v. American Library Association, United States v. Stevens, andUnited States v. Alvarez.
Bloom’s published articles address subjects such as First Amendment public forum analysis, food libel laws, publicity rights, the interplay of copyright law and technology, keyword advertising litigation, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Since 1998 he has served as executive editor of Bright Ideas, the newsletter of the Intellectual Property Law Section of the New York State Bar Association, and is a member of the section’s executive committee.
The Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor was established in 1987 to recognize and honor those individuals who have contributed substantially through adherence to its principles and/or substantial monetary support. Founded in 1969 to promote and defend the right of individuals to freely express ideas and to access information in libraries and elsewhere, FTRF fulfills its mission through grants to individuals and groups, primarily for the purpose of aiding them in litigation, and through direct participation in litigation dealing with freedom of speech and of the press.
Columbia University Libraries is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 13 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff and hosts over 4.7 million visitors each year. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.