Dr. Chris Shaffer, dean of library services at Troy University, has received the Alabama Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Award.
The Intellectual Freedom Award is presented to an individual or a group that conducts programming in support of intellectual freedom and in opposition to censorship. The award was presented during the Alabama Library Association’s Annual Convention in Montgomery, April 18-21.
“I am deeply honored that the Alabama Library Association chose to recognize me with this year’s Intellectual Freedom Award,” Dr. Shaffer said. “Over the past 10 years, my favorite part of my role at the Troy University Libraries has been to bring to our campuses unique and interesting programming that encourages thought-provoking discussions, while exposing our students to new ideas and perspectives.”
Dr. Shaffer has been instrumental in providing programs on the Holocaust, African American studies and understanding Muslims and the Islamic world.
In 2010, Dr. Shaffer with funding from an Alabama Humanities Foundation grant initiated a program that brought Holocaust survivor Ann Rosenheck to TROY where she spoke to nearly 1,500 people about her experiences. The following year, the program grew into a “Year of Holocaust Remembrance.”
Dr. Shaffer’s work with African American studies established a relationship that brought “Cowboy” Mike Searles to the Troy and Dothan campuses for presentations to University students, as well as local school children about the Western experiences of black cowboys. In addition, he launched a day-long event for teachers, providing strategies for teaching about the Civil Rights Movement in the classroom.
In 2013, Dr. Shaffer launched a two-year series of programming, providing educational outreach about Muslims and Islamic history and culture. Funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities Muslim Journeys Bookshelf grant, the program provided TROY’s three campus libraries with a set of books on the Islamic world.
“Dean Shaffer is transforming our ideas and perceptions of the role of the college library for the campus and community,” said Judy Fulmer, director of sponsored programs. “Dr. Shaffer and his faculty have secured opportunities to provide a common, transformed experience designed to encourage reflection and discussion on compelling current issues. Through his leadership, the library has supported partnerships such as the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read; Alabama Humanities Foundation projects including: Cowboy Mike, Ann Rosenheck and the Holocaust Experience, Wade Hall postcards; the Pragda Spanish and Tournees French film festivals — these experiences enrich our campus community and ‘transform’ the dusty library to a well-spring of inspiration.”
Prior to becoming dean, Dr. Shaffer served as director of the library at TROY’s Dothan Campus and also served as the social sciences reference librarian on the Troy Campus for one year. Prior to entering the library field, Shaffer spent eight years as a history teacher in Georgia and one year teaching English as a Second Language in Slovakia.
Dr. Shaffer received his master’s in library services from the University of Alabama in 2005 and his doctorate in educational leadership, policy and law from Alabama State University in 2014. He has been published in several peer-reviewed journals and has extensive experience in writing and implementing grants.