Canada Intellectual Freedom Award to Teacher Librarians

The Canadian Library Association is pleased to announce that Richard Beaudry and Gail Chaddock-Costello have been chosen as winners of the 2016 Award for the Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada for their demonstrated leadership and exceptional courage in resisting censorship and opposing violations of intellectual freedom in school libraries and schools.

Mr. Beaudry, long-time teacher librarian in British Columbia and 1st Vice-President of the Langley Teachers’ Association, and Ms. Chaddock-Costello, the Association’s President, were involved in a series of formal grievances in different schools over an extended period of time against arbitrary policies, and decisions that would have severely restricted access to reading materials for students and in some cases for teachers too.

Although the results of their principled determination to support intellectual freedom principles in a school environment are felt most directly by local students and teaching staff, the courage of Ms. Chaddock-Costello and Mr. Beaudry in opposing school library censorship will serve as a model for all Canadians faced with the evolving crisis in school library services. Mr. Beaudry has said, “If you attack one library in Canada, you attack them all,” and it is his and Ms. Chaddock-Costello’s commitment to the broader, national perspective that is also recognized in this Award.

Mr. Beaudry and Ms. Chaddock-Costello have not only defended the rights of students and teachers to intellectual freedom in a local school district in one province, they have also added significantly to the national narrative that sees these and related rights and responsibilities as imperative and immutable in all schools across Canada.

One of the Canadian Library Association’s core beliefs is that the principles of intellectual freedom and unfettered universal access to information, through libraries, are key components of an open and democratic society. In the face of significant opposition, Mr. Beaudry and Ms. Chaddock-Costello have demonstrated an unvarying dedication to the preservation and enhancement of school library access and services across the aggrieved school district.

This Award recognizes and supports their principled collective achievements in championing school library reading, unfettered access to library materials, the importance of school board policies honouring due process, and the core value of intellectual freedom.

The Canadian Library Association’s Award for the Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canadarecognizes and honours outstanding contributions to intellectual freedom in Canada by individuals or groups. Preference is given to librarians and library institutions. However like-minded individuals such as teachers or authors or groups such as schools or publishers are also eligible. The award is given from time-to-time, not necessarily on an annual basis, and there may be more than one recipient in any one year. For more information go to: