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An Advocate for Intellectual Freedom

Matthew Good, an instructional technology librarian at Ursinus, was selected as the recipient of the 2024 John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award by the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Round Table.

As the debate surrounding censorship and banned books continues in school districts across the country, an Ursinus College librarian is being honored for standing up for intellectual freedom.

Matthew Good is the recipient of the John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award, which honors contributions to and to personal courage in defense of freedom of expression. It’s awarded by the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Round Table.

“I’m grateful to be recognized because it allows us to have further conversations about this issue and bring it to a wider audience,” said Good, who is an instructional technology librarian at Ursinus. In that role, Good supports faculty and students in their use of technology for teaching and learning purposes.

Prior to coming to Ursinus, Good resigned from his position at a Lancaster County junior high school after the district implemented a policy restricting access to books in the school’s library. Good is a staunch advocate for intellectual freedom, and said he immediately saw it embedded in Ursinus’s culture when he arrived here in 2023.

“To see the ability to engage with people across a variety of ideological beliefs and lifestyles on a daily basis [at Ursinus] has been extraordinary,” he said.

“[It’s important] for students whose lived experience is outside of what they traditionally might expect…and speaking from my own personal vantage point, it’s allowed me to understand the lives and experiences of people that I would never have considered,” Good said. “I think for students, that’s really important, especially if their experiences or their understanding of individuals outside of their own community is limited. The ability to gain a better understanding of history is invaluable and necessary.”

The American Library Association, of which Good is a member, is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. It’s Intellectual Freedom Round Table provides opportunities to become involved in the support of freedom of access and freedom of expression in libraries.

John Phillip Immroth was a teacher, author, scholar, advocate, and defender of First Amendment rights. The award in his name consists of a citation and $500.

Good said he is proud of the work he’s done so far at Ursinus, which includes Myrin Library displays during Banned Books Week and Pride Week.

“I’m grateful that that the students and the wider campus is willing to engage with and have these conversations,” Good said.

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