The Salt Lake City Public Library board of directors has been honored for its defense of free speech and the right to read.

Past and present board members are the recipients of the Special Service to Libraries Award from the Utah Library Association."In 1964, the board fought to retain John Kenneth Galbraith as speaker at the dedication ceremonies to open the Main Library over the opposition from then-mayor of Salt Lake City J. Bracken Lee," the award states.

"The City Library Board was instrumental in providing financial, legal and moral support during Jeanne Layton's conflict with Davis County commissioners (regarding censorship of the novel `Americana.')"

And board members lobbied tenaciously to raise library mill levy ceilings in 1964, 1975 and 1987, the award says.

The library will further honor its board members during a free program at 1 p.m. March 15 at the Main Library.

F. William Summers, president of the American Library Association, Lillian Gerhardt, editor-in-chief of School Library Journal, and Amy Owen, state library director, will speak on the future of libraries.