Judith F. Krug, ‘Hero to Librarians’

Judith Fingeret Krug, for executive director of the Freedom to Read Foundation and director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association over 40 years, died April 11 at the age of 69.

The founder of the ALA’s Banned Books Week, she was a tireless supporter of writers, teachers and students and an adviser to librarians and trustees. Born in Pittsburgh, she held a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, and her remarkable recorded oral history is in the Spertus Library.

“She was a person unlikely to be replicated, and had a tremendous calling that she used for the good of people across the country,” said her husband, Herbert Krug.

Her awards and offices include the Joseph P. Lippincott Award, the Irita Van Doren Award, the Harry Kalven Freedom of Expression Award, and most recently, the William J. Brennan Jr. award from the Thomas Jefferson Center for Free Expression. She served as a senator and vice president of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and on the board of the American Jewish Committee. She was also a Silver Circle member of the Jewish United Fund, where she was active in the Women’s Division.

In addition to her husband, Judith Krug is survived by her children Steven (Denise), Michelle (David) Litchman; grandchildren Jessica, Sydney, Hannah, Rachel and Jason; brothers, Jay (Ilene) and Dr. Arnold (Denise) Fingeret; and sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Shirley and Dr. Howard Katzman. She was preceded in death by her sister, Susan (Steve) Pavsner. Memorial contributions may be made to the Freedom to Read Foundation, 50 E. Huron, Chicago, IL 60611, or

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Posted: 5/5/2009 10:51:36 AM

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