Judith Krug

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Judith Fingeret Krug (March 15, 1940 – April 11, 2009) was an American librarian, supporter of freedom of speech, and prominent critic against censorship. She was appointed as the Director of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom in 1967 and Executive Director of the Freedom to Read Foundation in 1969. She co-founded Banned Books Week in 1982.


  • The First Amendment is national in scope and, as the Supreme Court said in Tinker, it does not stop at the schoolhouse door. Not all children are the same. Is a 17-year-old on the eve of his 18th birthday the same as a five-year-old? It is not the responsibility of librarians, or online content providers for that matter, to determine what is appropriate. We are at the very beginning of how we will handle this new medium.
    • "Library Interests Debate Decency Act" Newsbytes News Network (February 21, 1996)
  • You should have access to ideas and information regardless of your age. If anyone is going to limit or guide a young person, it should be the parent or guardian — and only the parent or guardian.
  • Many libraries are digging in their heels and saying, "We are not going to add filtering mechanisms."
    • "A Library That Would Rather Block Than Offend" by Pamela Mendels, The New York Times (January 18, 1997)
  • We want to provide as much information as we can, and say to our users: "It is all here. You make the choice."
    • "A Library That Would Rather Block Than Offend" by Pamela Mendels, The New York Times (January 18, 1997)
  • I have a real problem when people say, "Well I walked by and you should have seen what was on the computer screen." Well, don't look, sweetie. It's none of your business. Avert your eyes.
    • "A Library That Would Rather Block Than Offend," by Pamela Mendels, The New York Times (January 18, 1997)
  • We know that there are children out there whose parents do not take the kind of interest in their upbringing and in their existence that we would wish, but I don't think censorship is ever the solution to any problem, be it societal or be it the kind of information or ideas that you have access to.
    • "Easy Access?" by Spencer Michels, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (August 7, 1997)
  • Material that might be illegal is such a minuscule part of what is available that we have to remember — and I mean not only librarians but everybody has to remember not to let it overshadow the incredible wealth of information that is available in this medium.
    • "Easy Access?" by Spencer Michels, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (August 7, 1997)
  • For those of us in this battle, we clearly understand one thing — that when left up to "local" decision-making, it's still the ALA policy/philosophy of "no filters" that often triumphs. Local folks are not having their concerns taken seriously. I hear this repeatedly from individuals who contact us asking what they can do because they're up against an ALA wall. Does 'W' understand this? His wife is a librarian.
  • We know for a fact that the library is the main access point to the Internet outside of the home and workplace. Particularly for young people, information about AIDS, sexuality, suicide could mean the difference between life and death. This law keeps us from giving people access to the information they need.
    • "ACLU, ALA File Law Suit Against Child Internet Protection Act - American Civil Liberties Union, American Library Association Declare Law Unconstitutional - Brief Article" Electronic Education Report (March 28, 2001)
  • I have always found it a little strange that the majority of schools are utilizing filters. It seems to me that this is the environment where filters would not be used because the students are so carefully monitored, the activities in which they engage all go toward the same goals of education, and this is the very place where young people should be learning about information and its uses, in other words, where they should be learning information literacy.

    A recent National Research Center report, commissioned by Congress, clearly stated that information and media literacy are the most important things we can teach our children in order to truly protect them. Instead of placing barriers around the swimming pool, we must teach children to swim. We must teach children to find and use accurate information.

  • I have heard some horror stories.
    • Referring to an incident in which an adult asked a librarian for a filter to be turned off and was told that the request had to go to a committee that would not meet for another two weeks
    • "Goodbye, Orlando?" by John Berry et al., Library Journal (August 15, 2004)
  • It's a public library. If you don't like the book, magazine, CD-ROM or film, put it down and pick up something else. Libraries provide choice. Our responsibility is to have in our collection a broad range of ideas and information.
  • I get very concerned when we start hearing people who want to convert this country into a safe place for children. I am adult. I want available what I need to see.
    • "Oak Lawn Library Vows to Keep Playboy on Shelf" by Jo Napolitano, Chicago Tribune, (June 23, 2005)

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