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IF Award Criteria


WLA & WEMTA Intellectual Freedom Award Criteria and Procedure

Award Purpose and Criteria

The WLA/WEMTA Intellectual Freedom Award is administered jointly by the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) through its Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) and the Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association (WEMTA). The award is given based on the following criteria:

•    the nominee's role in actively promoting intellectual freedom in their sphere of influence and beyond;
•    the degree to which one exemplifies the spirit of intellectual freedom; and
•    the effect of their efforts to promote intellectual freedom and challenge censorship.

Anyone who has actively promoted intellectual freedom in Wisconsin is eligible for the award, and nominations may be made by personal members of WLA or WEMTA. Activities within the past five years are eligible for consideration. Individuals and groups (including subgroups of larger associations) may nominate themselves.
This is not an annual award; a recipient is selected only in those years when the committee believes it is merited.
The award is presented at the awards banquet of either the WLA Annual Conference in the fall or the WEMTA conference in the spring depending upon the recipient’s affiliation and/or preference. An announcement of the award or brief formal recognition will be given to the award recipient at the non-presenting conference.

Nomination Process

Nominators must send a  nomination letter that identifies the nominee’s role in promoting intellectual freedom, along with a minimum of two additional letters of support that further illuminate the nominee’s visible efforts on behalf of intellectual freedom. References to published articles by or about the nominee; workshops or speeches by the nominee relating to intellectual freedom, and other tangible evidence of the nominee’s work are especially welcome.

Joint Award Committee Composition

The WLA & WEMTA Joint Intellectual Freedom Award Committee is comprised of six individuals. WLA representation shall consist of the past chair of the IFRT and two others from the IFRT Board who will be appointed by the IFRT chair. WEMTA representatives shall consist of the IFSIG chair, the IFSIG chair-elect, and the WEMTA IF Coordinator. The joint award committee chairpersonship will alternate every other year between the two organizations beginning with the past chair of the IFRT in the first year the joint committee meets.

Nomination Procedures: See IF Award Application


Nominations are due on January 15 of each year.  (Note: this deadline aligns with the deadline for other WEMTA award nominations.  While this is a joint WEMTA/WLA award, the WEMTA conference occurs first on the calendar each year. Meeting the WEMTA deadline assures that both the WEMTA and WLA calendar for deadlines are accommodated.) Completed nominations are sent to the Intellectual Freedom Round Table, WLA Office, 4610 South Biltmore Lane, Suite 100, Madison, WI 53718 phone (608) 245-3640 fax (608) 245-3646.

After the deadline, the WLA office will forward the nomination packets to the joint award committee members for their deliberation and decision-making no later than one week after the deadline for nomination submissions.

Joint award committee members may not nominate or write a letter of support for a nomination.  Additionally WLA IFRT Board members may not do so either. If individuals holding these positions have identified one or more worthy candidates for the award, they should find a third party to handle the nomination, including gathering letters of support.

Joint award committee members or members of the IFRT Board may not be nominated for the WLA/ & WEMTA Intellectual Freedom Award.  If a nomination for an individual serving in one of these capacities is received, the individual has the option of resigning from the award committee or IFRT Board.

Call for Nominations: FALL

•    The joint award committee chair will send out a call for nominations in the fall. The call for nominations should go out annually to the following e-lists by October15, with a reminder on November 15 of the January 15 deadline.

•    WLA full member e-list
•    IFRT members
•    WEMTA full member e-list
•    WEMTA IFSIG members

The joint award committee chair is also responsible for making sure a call for nominations goes into the Fall IFRT newsletter and the Fall WEMTA Dispatch The chair will also submit the call for nominations to all WLA unit newsletter editors via the WLA office. Note: Make sure the IFRT and WEMTA web managers have updated the application form for the current year.

Review of Nominations:  January/February

The joint award committee will review the nominations and determine a recipient if criteria are met, taking care to work within the established deadlines. Some years no award will be given.

Notifications: SPRING

The joint award committee chair will handle communication with the following:

1.    Award recipient and nominator: Inform them of the award, determine with recipient the preferred banquet/association conference for award presentation, and follow up later with the recipient on details regarding the banquet location, travel and lodging issues, etc.

2.    Appropriate association’s Awards Committee chair: Notify him/her in time to meet all deadlines for inclusion for the appropriate conference awards banquet. Convey whether the award recipient has guests they would like seated with them at the banquet so a table can be reserved. Query the Awards Committee chair about deadlines that are relevant to these plans.

3.    Awards Committee chair of the non-presenting association: Provide an announcement of the award and recipient. 

4.    WLA and WEMTA Newsletter Editors: Prepare and submit a short article about the award recipient for the WLA newsletter and the WEMTA Dispatch by their respective deadlines.

5.    Award Sponsor: Notify sponsor of the recipient, the need for the award check and plaque by conference date, where to send it, and determine whether the funder wishes to be present at the award banquet.

6.    WLA Office/Executive Director or the WEMTA Award Committee chair (depending on the conference at which the award will be presented): contact to determine the banquet registration process for the award recipient and the procedure to ensure that the award recipient is reimbursed for hotel/travel.

7.    WLA IFRT and WEMTA IFSIG web managers: Post the award recipient’s name and association on the Web sites.

Presentation of Award: SPRING OR FALL

The award will be presented to the recipient at the WLA or WEMTA Awards Banquet by the joint award committee chair. If joint award committee chair is unable to attend, another member of the joint awards committee will make the presentation.  The award recipient may make brief acceptance comments.

Follow-up after the conference at which the award is presented:

The joint award committee chair will handle communication with the following:

1.    Recipient and either WLA office/financial manager or the WEMTA conference manager: Make sure all necessary payments and reimbursements have been taken care of in a timely manner.

2.    Sponsor: Ensure sponsor has updated its Web site to reflect the current recipient..

3. Acknowledgement of the recipient and the award at the non-presenting association’s conference:

The joint award committee chair will appoint a joint award committee member from the non-presenting association to work with his/her respective organization to complete the following:

1.    Communicate with their Awards Committee chairperson to make a brief presentation of the Intellectual Freedom Award at their annual conference/awards banquet.

2.    Communicate with Association President to send a letter of acknowledgement to the award recipient.

Approved by The Wisconsin Educational Media & Technology Association Board, Feb. 3, 2012
Approved by the Wisconsin Library Association Board, Feb. 15, 2012.