California Library Association to Recognize Santa Clara County Library District’s Nancy Howe, County Librarian

For Immediate Release
October 29, 2018

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Zoia Horn Award for Intellectual Freedom honors free speech efforts

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – October 29, 2018 – The California Library Association will honor Santa Clara County Library District’s Nancy Howe, County Librarian, with the Zoia Horn Award at their 2018 Awards Gala. The event takes place on Saturday, November 10 at the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara. The Zoia Horn Intellectual Freedom Award recognizes those who have made significant contributions to advance intellectual freedom and help preserve free speech in an open society. 

Nancy Howe is both the County Librarian and Executive Director of the Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD). In 2017, when the state government changed their grant qualifications requiring English as a Second Language (ESL) participants to provide social security information, Howe declined the funding on behalf of SCCLD in support of patron privacy and protection.

Upon learning of the loss of funding and recognizing the importance of ESL programs, the Santa Clara County Executive and Board of Supervisors stepped in to provide funding through the year 2020. The Library was able to offer the free classes without interruption in addition to informal conversation clubs and individual reading tutors at every SCCLD library.

The California Library Association’s award recognizes Howe’s work over her 20-year career with SCCLD to ensure that library patrons have access to quality, unbiased resources and their personal information and privacy are protected. Her decision to forego funding in favor of patron privacy is just one example of her dedication to protecting intellectual freedom.

“Nancy Howe has been an extraordinary leader for the Library District and the people it serves,” said County Supervisor and Library Joint Powers Authority Board Chairman, Mike Wasserman. “By providing access and resources for all, regardless of their background, Nancy has ensured that our libraries remain some of the most welcoming places within our County.”

The award honors the memory of Zoia Horn, a California librarian who in 1972 chose to serve jail time rather than betray confidential information. Horn’s experience and dedication demonstrates integrity over personal comfort, serves as a model, and is shared with generations of library students.

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About the Santa Clara County Library District

The Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD) promotes knowledge, ideas, and cultural enrichment. Its collection includes more than 2 million books, videos, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, eBooks and extensive online resources accessible from home or work. In 2014, SCCLD celebrated one hundred years of service to local residents. For the last several years, SCCLD has been consistently recognized as one of America’s Star Libraries by Library Journal. In 2017, SCCLD was ranked among the top ten large libraries in the United States in the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service. In 2014 and 2015, SCCLD won Innovator Awards from the Urban Libraries Council.

The Santa Clara County Library District includes two bookmobiles, an online library, seven community libraries and one branch library serving Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Saratoga and the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County. In 2017, the Santa Clara County Library District had more than 328,000 library cardholders and welcomed 3.2 million visitors, who borrowed over 9 million items.

Nancy Howe/Diane Roche/Erik Sanjurjo
Santa Clara County Library District
(408) 293-2326 ext. 3001/3080/3014