Not only are we in the middle of National Library Week right now, but today is National Library Workers Day specifically.
So lets talk about American librarian Zoia Horn (1918-2014) and the name Zoia.
Zoia Horn was born in Odessa, Ukraine. A few years later her family emigrated to Canada, then moved to New York City.
She first began working at a library in 1942, and throughout her career as a librarian she was an outspoken defender of intellectual freedom.
Most notably, Zoia Horn was the first U.S. librarian sent to jail for “refusing to divulge information that violated professional principles of privacy and intellectual freedom.” In 1972, she spent 20 days in jail after refusing to testify at the conspiracy trial of the Harrisburg Seven, a group of seven religious anti-Vietnam War activists.
She also defended a gay librarian who’d been “attacked for creating a display of gay library materials,” spoke out against the Patriot Act, and objected to public libraries’ attempts to charge patrons fees.
In 2003, the California Library Association established the annual Zoia Horn Intellectual Freedom Award.
Zoia Horn’s first name, Zoia, is an alternative spelling of Zoya, the Ukrainian (and Russian) form of Zoe, which comes from the ancient Greek word zōḗ, meaning “life.” The name Zoe was created in ancient times as a version of the Hebrew-derived name Eve, which may mean “to live” or “to breathe.”
What do you think of the name Zoia?
- Library Freedom Fighter Zoia Horn Remembered – Library Journal
- Zoia Horn Takes Pride in Provoking – The Berkeley Daily Planet
- Zoia Horn – Wikipedia
- National Library Week Fact Sheet – ALA
Image: Zoia! (via Internet Archive)