Chris Finan, president of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), long-time member of the Media Coalition, and member and chair of the Board of the National Coalition Against Censorship, will receive the 2011 Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) Roll of Honor Award at the American Library Association’s national conference in New Orleans on Friday, June 25.
FTRF is honoring Finan for his “distinguished career in both study and activism on behalf of the freedom to read.”
“The First Amendment and the cause of free expression could not have a more committed, articulate, and effective champion than Chris Finan,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. “As the president of ABFFE, Chris’ hard work and insightful writing has ensured that the booksellers’ voice is heard in the fight for free expression, and all of us at ABA congratulate him on this great honor.”
In announcing Finan’s award last month, Freedom to Read Foundation President Kent Oliver said, “It has been my pleasure to work with Chris for many years. His commitment to the First Amendment and the principles which the Freedom to Read Foundation represents is unsurpassed.”
Finan’s work on behalf of free speech began in 1982 when he joined the Media Coalition as coordinator. In 1998, he joined ABFFE.
As president of ABFFE and a member of a number of free speech advocacy groups, Finan has worked on a host of First Amendment issues, including federal, state, and local legislation and litigation. “He has been particularly active in fighting state ‘harmful to minors’ statutes and advocating the role of the bookseller as a partner with libraries, users, publishers, and all who produce, distribute, or use First Amendment-protected materials,” said FTRF. In addtion, he has been a leader in efforts to amend the USA PATRIOT Act and has worked with ALA to expand the influence and scope of annual celebrations of Banned Books Week nationwide.
Finan is the author of two books, Alfred E. Smith: The Happy Warrior (Hill and Wang) and From the Palmer Raids to the Patriot Act: A History of the Fight for Free Speech in America (Beacon), which received the ALA/Intellectual Freedom Round Table’s Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award in June 2008.