On May 7, Chuck Robinson, owner of Village Books in Bellingham, Washington, was presented with this year's Liberty Bell Award by the Whatcom County Bar Association. The award acknowledges outstanding community service to the legal system by a non-attorney, including encouraging a sense of civic responsibility and contributing to good government.
A member of the Board of Directors of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, Robinson served on the American Booksellers Association Board and was its president from 1992 - 1994.
Robinson told BTW that he thought he received the award in recognition of his involvement in civil rights work, particularly his work as a witness in both local and national First Amendment issues, including the Tattered Cover case. In the well-publicized case, Denver's North Metro Drug Task Force had sought a suspect's book purchase records from the Tattered Cover. Joyce Meskis, owner of the Tattered Cover, refused to turn the customer records over, and the case went to court. On April 8, 2002, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the bookstore did not have to turn the records over. -- Karen Schechner