Angela Moeny claims to have the best jobs — paid and unpaid — and when you talk to her, you can do nothing but believe her claim. She’s as enthusiastic a librarian and educator as anyone could find. A staunch youth advocate, you can find her working as an elementary school librarian, spending her summers with a youth theatre ensemble, and running events such as book fairs. Moeny recently joined the ranks of CBLDF volunteers, and we’re delighted to have her aboard!
Also a professional photographer, writer, compulsive doodler, urban chicken farmer, comics junkie, and more, Moeny recently took some time out of her busy schedule to talk to CBLDF in this installment of The Good Fighters.
CBLDF: How did you find out about the CBLDF?
Angela Moeny: A mention in Neil Gaiman’s journal brought the CBLDF to my attention almost a decade ago. I immediately fell in love with the organization, but my involvement didn’t go any further than writing an occasional membership check and reading email updates on the Fund’s activities. Then, last summer I decided it was time to get more involved. Somehow, what started out as an offer to help out at Comic-Con International for a couple of days has become a full-blown addiction. I’ve volunteered at six conventions in the last nine months, so I’m afraid it’s starting to look like you may be stuck with me.
CBLDF: Why is Free Speech important to you?
Moeny: There is an exhilaration in being able to express one’s self without restriction. A fluid, uninterrupted flow of information and ideas can manifest itself in amazing ways. We see this in art, science, politics, education — it’s all around us — and we have an obligation to preserve it. Once we start giving our rights away, we lose those electric moments of expression and innovation.
CBLDF: You’re an elementary school librarian. How does your work as a librarian play into your support of Free Speech with CBLDF?
Moeny: As a librarian, I’ve seen frequent attempts made to restrict students’ access to materials, and the ease with which a well-meaning adult can brush aside a child’s right to make his or her own selections. I also work with educators who still struggle to understand why I allow (and even encourage!) their students to read comics instead of “real books.” My commitment to allowing my students to form and articulate their own opinions and explore a variety of media, without fear of repercussion, is part of the mindset I bring to the CBLDF.
CBLDF: Has your experience volunteering for CBLDF influenced your work as a librarian? How so?
Moeny: Absolutely. Becoming involved with the CBLDF has helped move First Amendment rights out of the periphery for me. It has challenged me to set aside personal preference in order to provide a place in my library for a full range of viewpoints, including those I disagree with. And the CBLDF’s commitment to free speech lends me the confidence to keep my personal fears in check and not allow them to stifle my professional obligation to provide broad access to information and resources.
CBLDF: How would you recommend people get involved with CBLDF?
Moeny: Membership is, of course, a great place to start! Beyond that, figure out what you have to offer. Is it time? Money? Talent? Find out what the needs are, then see if you can meet them. Having a crazy, all-consuming passion doesn’t hurt either.
CBLDF: Where can we see you working with CBLDF next?
Moeny: San Diego! I’ll be making my way back to Comic-Con International, where this craziness all began, and I can’t wait! (I’m banking some extra hours of sleep now.)