Friday, April 17, 2009

Judith Krug -- A Life to Celebrate

Judith Krug died last Saturday night at the age of 69. You may not know her name, but for those of us who care about our right to information, she was a hero. For more than four decades, she was the director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. She created Banned Books week in 1982, took on the Patriot Act’s library provisions, and helped bring a case against Internet censorship to the Supreme Court. I only met her a few times, but I have always considered her an important ally.

The New York Times editorial page did something they rarely do, which is include “an appreciation” about her on their editorial page on Wednesday. But it was her NYT’s obituary that made me smile. It ended with a story that Ms. Krug used to tell audiences about why she was a stalwart supporter of freedom of information.

I’m paraphrasing here from memory but you’ll get the idea. Ms. Krug shared that when she was 12, her mother caught her reading a sex education book under the covers by flashlight. Her mother started, “Young lady, don’t do that.” She paused. “Turn on the light so you don’t ruin your eyes.”

A lifelong supporter of sexuality education and information was born. May she rest in peace.

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