Let (Intellectual) Freedom Ring

A Beardstown (IL) school district official will receive statewide recognition next month for defending a book some parents sought to have removed from the library shelves.

Sue Reichert, director of libraries for Beardstown School District, will be given the Illinois Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Award in October.

The award — which “recognizes an individual or group for outstanding contributions to the defense and advancement of intellectual freedom” — will be presented during a ceremony Oct. 8 in Peoria.

Reichert was cited for professionalism in handling the protest over the Jodi Picoult book “Nineteen Minutes,” according to Illinois Library Association officials.

“In spite of vociferous opposition to the book, she held fast to the [school district] policy by gathering background information on the book and arranging a faculty review for the purpose of making a recommendation to the school board,” according to the association.

The book was challenged in 2008 when a parent sought its removal because of the explicit language and sexual content he saw in it when his seventh grade daughter brought it home. Journal-Courier reports.