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UW-RF Professor Cited For Intellectual Freedom

November 13, 1998

An English professor who specializes in researching the history behind censored works and analyzing the implications to an informed society has been named the recipient of the intellectual freedom award of a Wisconsin librarian's association.

UW-River Falls Professor Nick Karolides was presented with the 1998 Wisconsin-SIRS Intellectual Freedom Award recently at the Wisconsin Librarians Association convention.

The intellectual freedom awards are given to individuals or groups who have met or resisted attempts at censorship and have otherwise furthered the cause of intellectual and academic freedom. Previous winners include public and school librarians, teachers, administrators, school board members, authors, parents, bookstore owners, community groups and students.

The organization hopes to create awareness of the importance of intellectual freedom and to reinforce the idea that citizens cannot take First Amendment freedoms for granted.

Karolides was nominated for the award by UW-RF collection development librarian Curtis LeMay, with numerous faculty and staff writing letters of support.

Chancellor Gary A. Thibodeau, in support of the nomination, noted: "I know of no one in Wisconsin who champions free thought more than Dr. Karolides....If we did not have dedicated professionals like Dr. Karolides to remind us continually that education includes many viewpoints we would have weakened libraries and a less-informed society."

Karolides was cited for his long-standing research and dedication to dissecting the implications of censorship. He is the author of three books exploring censorship, with the most recent published this year: "Banned Books: Literature Suppressed on Political Grounds."

That work was excerpted this summer in the political commentary magazine, "George." Excerpts from that book and Karolides' previous works will soon be published to general audiences in paperback form by Facts On File.

His previously published books on censorship include "Censored Books: Critical Viewpoints," and "Celebrating Censored Books."

Karolides said he was flattered to have been considered for the recognition:

"I value receiving this award because of what it stands for-intellectual freedom," Karolides said.

"After all, the basis of all education is freedom of inquiry and freedom of expression. Since teaching has been at the core of my professional life, these concerns have been highly important to me.

"In this respect, my teaching and my writing about censorship issues converge. I'm deeply honored to have my efforts in support of these freedoms be recognized."

The Wisconsin Librarians Association award is the latest in the English professor's distinguished career. In 1994 he received the Myers Center Award of the Study of Human Rights in North America for his study of intolerance in "Censored Books."

As an educator, Karolides as cited in 1994 with the University of Wisconsin System Regents Excellence in Teaching Award, selected from among the more than 14,000 faculty at the UW System's 26 campuses.

The recipient of a $500 honorarium with his most recent award, Karolides donated the money to the Chalmer-Davee Library at UW-River Falls.

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