Eldon Ray James, retired, Freedom to Read Foundation Trustee
While serving a sentence in federal prison I decided to become a librarian. I made that happen by graduating the University of Texas at Austin School of Information in 2007. By serendipity Dr. Loriene Roy, my advisor, became the American Library Association president the year I graduated and she took me to Washington as a part of her presidential party. She introduced me to ALA and particularly a group called the Prisoners Forum, an interest group in ASCLA (ASGCLA, now defunct) where this ex-con found a family with correctional librarians.
One of those librarians shortly thereafter ask me to help write the Prisoners’ Right to Read and help move it though ALA. That experience led to the Intellectual Freedom Committee, Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and the Freedom to Read Foundation. ASCLA needed a liaison to all three and I volunteered. I have now served as a member of IFC and a director of IFRT and ASGCLA and am currently a trustee of the Freedom to Read Foundation.
In ALA I lead and serve on various groups that create essential documents. I am now on the working committee to update the IFLA Guidelines on prison libraries.