Remembering J. Dennis Day who left us August 2, 1995.
FREEDOM TO READ FOUNDATION BOARD MEMBER J. DENNIS DAY DIES: MEMORIAL
It is with great sadness that we report the death of J. Dennis Day, past president of the Freedom to Read Foundation. Dennis passed away following a courageous battle with brain cancer.
Throughout his distinguished career in librarianship, Dennis devoted himself to the cause of intellectual freedom. He generously contributed his time to the Foundation, serving terms as President, Treasurer, Executive Committee member, and member or chair of the Executive, Finance, Membership, and Roll of Honor committees. Dennis' commitment to the principles of intellectual freedom gave him a special vision that provided crucial guidance to the board in determining the best course of action when faced with difficult choices and challenges.
Dennis graduated first in his class from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1967, with a master of science degree in library science. He served as Community Librarian for the Dayton and Montgomery County (Ohio) Public Library from August, 1967 to March, 1970; as Director of the Troy-Miami County (Ohio) Public Library from March, 1970 to September, 1976; and from September 1976 until the time of his death was Director of the Salt Lake City (Utah) Public Library. During his time in Utah, Dennis founded the Snowbird Leadership Institute, which has established itself as an intensive and greatly valued leadership development experience for his professional colleagues. The 1995 Snowbird Conference had just convened at the time of Dennis' death.
Dennis was particularly esteemed because of the concern he showed both for his professional colleagues and the communities he served, through his concentration on staff and leadership development, and on the constant improvement of community services in libraries. During his 19 years as Director, the Salt Lake City Public Library won the American Library Association's John Cotton Dana Award for outstanding community relations programs three times. The Troy-Miami County Public Library in Troy, Ohio, also won that award while Dennis was its Director.
In addition to his work for the Freedom to Read Foundation, Dennis was active in the American Library Association, serving terms as chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee, as a member of ALAÕs Executive Board, and as chair of the Committee on Freedom and Equality of Access to Information.
At the regional and state level, Dennis served as president of the Mountain Plains Library Association, president of the Utah Library Association, chair of the Utah Governor's Conference on Library and Information Services Programs, president of the Ohio Library Association, and chair of the Miami Valley (Ohio) Library Organization.
"Dennis influenced the lives of thousands through his leadership and commitment. He made a permanent contribution to his profession and nurtured a devoted circle of friends across the country," said June Pinnell-Stevens, President of the Freedom to Read Foundation.
Dennis was not only instrumental in developing the Freedom to Read Foundation into the organization that it is today, but he also contributed substantially to the growth of the American Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Committee and Office for Intellectual Freedom.
"Dennis was such an integral part of the intellectual freedom community. But more importantly, he was vital to its development. The very fact that we can talk about an `intellectual freedom community' is Dennis' doing. He browbeat us -- the IFC, ALA division IFCs, the ALA IFRT -- into talking to each other, and then developing joint programs, joint activities, and even policies that we could all agree on and support. He was a force to be reckoned with, and we were lucky to have him as a colleague and as a friend," said Judith Krug, Executive Director of the Foundation and Director of ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom.
The Freedom to Read Foundation has established a memorial fund in honor of J. Dennis Day, which will be used in the defense of intellectual freedom in public libraries. Contributions may be sent to J. Dennis Day Memorial Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, 50 E. Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611.
Freedom to Read Foundation to present Roll of Honor Awards
J. Dennis Day, director of the Salt Lake City (Utah) Public Library,
and Judith F. Krug, director of the American Library Association (ALA)
Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) are the 1995 recipients of the Freedom
to Read Foundation Roll of Honor Awards.
The award, established in 1988, honors those who have taken a
courageous personal stand against censorship or who have contributed
substantially to the Freedom to Read Foundation's mission.
"J. Dennis Day has devoted years of service to the Foundation as an
officer, board member, chair of numerous committees and as representative of
the American Library Association (ALA) Executive
Board to the Foundation," said Gordon Conable, Foundation president.
"When you talk about the Foundation and its work, Dennis Day's name
usually comes up in the same breath. He has served devotedly and diligently
for a time span encompassing nearly half of the Foundation's existence. I am
delighted that he is receiving this well-deserved recognition."
Conable said, "Judith Krug has served as the Foundation's volunteer
executive director since its establishment in 1969. She has devoted her
entire career to protecting the freedom to read. Her
knowledge of how First Amendment principles should be applied in libraries
has provided invaluable guidance to the board throughout the Foundation's
existence. This is our small way of showing our appreciation of her
The Freedom to Read Foundation is a First Amendment legal defense
organization established by ALA in 1969 to protect and defend free and
unrestricted access to the full range of library materials, and to guard the
right of libraries to collect and make available any work they may legally
The award will be presented on Saturday, June 24, at the Opening
General Session of the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.