Each year, the American Library Association recognizes the achievements of more than 200 individuals and institutions with various awards. Chosen by juries consisting of colleagues and peers, this year’s award winners were chosen for their leadership and vision, as well as their continued investment in the profession through mentorship. The following honorees represent only a portion of those cited in 2013. See more award winners at ala.org/awardsgrants.
Jeannette C. Smith, grants/university relations officer at the New Mexico State University Library in Las Cruces, has spent almost four decades working to promote librarianship in various organizations and libraries. Whether in public services, technical services, public relations, or in her current position, Smith has been a strong voice in advancing the profession. Smith served on the administrative council for the Southwest and Border Cultures Institute, which she helped to create in 1998. She was also the recipient of the 1999 Edmund Lester Pearson Library Humor Award and was named a fellow of the Molesworth Institute for her library humor research. She published a book, The Laughing Librarian: A History of American Library Humor (2012), on the topic.
Joseph W. Lippincott Award of $1,000 is presented annually to a librarian for distinguished service to the profession of librarianship, such service to include outstanding participation in the activities of the professional library association, notable published professional writing, or other significant activity on behalf of the profession and its aims.
Donor: Joseph W. Lippincott III
Carla D. Hayden, executive director and CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, boasts visionary achievements in service to the profession. Hayden’s two decades of leadership at the Pratt Library have helped bring it to national prominence for its leadership in providing access to the internet and digital collections. As 2003–2004 president of ALA, Hayden spearheaded efforts to attract and train underrepresented groups to the library profession through the Spectrum Initiative and challenged the government’s attempts to gain unwarranted access to library records using the Patriot Act. She was also a member
of the steering committee overseeing creation of the pioneering Digital Public Library of America, and was a presidentially appointed member of the National Museum and Library Services Board.
Donor: Katherine Schneider
In Claire Alexander’s Back to Front and Upside Down! which won the young readers’ award, a boy learns how to ask for help after discovering, while writing a birthday card for his principal, that for him, letters come out back to front and upside down. In A Dog Called Homeless, this year’s middle readers’ winner, Sarah Lean tells the story of a 5th grader who has stopped speaking after her mother’s death but manages, eventually, to find her voice. In Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am, which won the teen readers’ award, Harry Mazer and Peter Lerangis explore the effects of war injuries and autism.
ALA/Information Today, Inc. Library of the Future Award of $1,500 is awarded to an individual library, library consortium, group of librarians, or support organization for innovative planning for, applications of, or development of patron training programs about information technology in a library setting.
Donor: IIDA and Information Today, Inc.
The goal of the Community Collaboration for Enhanced Technology Services at the Princeton (N.J.) Public Library was to create a place in town where one could receive excellent technology assistance and discover technological innovations. The Princeton team noted that they “provided an opportunity for unique groups to form professional relationships in a welcoming, accessible, and inspiring environment, actively contributing to the larger evolution of the times while addressing and helping define customers’ needs.” The team successfully drew in young businesspeople, highly creative entrepreneurs, and technology experts, cementing the future of their library as a “cornerstone of technological education and innovation.” Additionally, the program allowed the library to promote existing services, such as ebooks, and better serve existing users who rely on the library for both access to technology and classes on its use.
The Sullivan Award for Public Library Administrators Supporting Services to Children is given to an individual who has shown exceptional understanding and support of public library service to children while having general management, supervisory, or administrative responsibility that has included public service for children in its scope.
Donor: Peggy Sullivan
Kathleen Reif, director of St. Mary’s County (Md.) Public Library, has worked diligently to promote public libraries and their benefit to children and families, with particular attention to early literacy and learning and Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR), a parent education outreach initiative. She also created and has nurtured relationships and partnerships with Judy Centers, Head Start, social services, and local businesses to further early literacy. Reif developed and chaired the Maryland Association of Public Library Administrators’ Birth-to-Four Task Force in 1998, which led to a statewide campaign titled “It’s Never Too Early,” and was instrumental in developing an ongoing relationship between public libraries and “Ready at Five,” a statewide public/private partnership that gives voice to young children in Maryland.
Scholastic Library Publishing Award of $1,000 honors a librarian whose extraordinary contributions to promoting access to books and encouraging a love of reading for lifelong learning exemplifies outstanding achievement in the profession.
Donor: Scholastic Library Publishing
Heather Ketron, head of children’s services at the Gum Spring branch of the Loudoun County (Va.) Public Library, has a passion for reading and learning that drives her to get books into the hands of children regardless of barriers, and to inspire a love of reading. She is constantly exploring opportunities to involve the community in library services and programming, and to increase the number and scope of community programming in the library. Ketron has given numerous presentations at the Virginia Library Association
annual conference, as well as a presentation to the Chinese Library Association conference in Dongguan, China. She has played an instrumental role in school reading enhancement programs and services, and initiated the Open Door Special Needs Storytimes program for autistic children and their families.
Gale Cengage Learning Financial Development Award of $2,500 is presented to a library organization that exhibits meritorious achievement in creating new means of funding for a public or academic library.
Donor: Gale Cengage, Inc.
The University at Massachusetts Amherst Libraries developed the Library Sustainability Fund to gain support from faculty, students, alumni, and Friends for a curriculum on sustainability studies. The libraries partnered with the school’s Annual Giving Office on the annual “Second Ask” campaign, which encourages donors to make one more gift to close out the fiscal year. Focusing on the Sustainability Fund, the “Second Ask” campaign succeeded in raising more than $160,000 from 3,398 donors. Faculty from 18 departments and staff from seven co-curricular offices worked together to create a set of student learning outcomes for sustainability courses, resulting in the new Sustainability Curriculum Initiative.
ALA Excellence in Library Programming Award of $5,000 recognizes a library that demonstrates excellence in library programming by creating a cultural/thematic program type or program series that engages the community in planning, sponsorship and/or active participation, addresses an identified community need, and has a measurable impact.
Donor: ALA Cultural Communities Fund
Carbondale (Ill.) Public Library and its community partners created “11 Days for Compassion” in response to a local Occupy movement and a strike at nearby Southern Illinois University that triggered discussions and peaceful protests, but also abusive rants in the newspaper. The intent was to give the community a safe way to reflect and to learn more about compassion for future interactions. The program demonstrated proactive community engagement involving 35 partners, and led individuals to host, lead, and promote compassion-themed discussions and events. The program was partly funded through a grant from ALA and the Fetzer Institute: “Building Common Ground: Discussions of Community, Civility, and Compassion.”
Equality Award of $1,000 honors an outstanding contribution that promotes equality in the library profession.
Donor: Scarecrow Press, Inc., a member of the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
Elizabeth Martinez, library director at Salinas (Calif.) Public Library, is well-known for leading with innovative ideas and advocating for cultural diversity. Martinez cofounded and helped organize Reforma, The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking, and the Committee to Recruit Mexican American Librarians in California. In 1984–1985 she cochaired, with Binnie Tate Wilkin, the ALA President’s Committee on Library Service to Minorities for ALA President E. J. Josey, which produced
the seminal 1985 report Equity at Issue. As ALA executive
director from 1994 to 1997, she was instrumental in
developing the Spectrum Scholarship program.
H. W. Wilson Library Staff Development Grant gives $3,500 to a library that demonstrates merit in a staff development program that furthers the goals and objectives of the library organization.
Donor: H. W. Wilson Company
With this grant, the Scottsdale (Ariz.) Public Library System plans to create the “Leadership Skydiving” program to develop leadership skills among library supervisors. The program consists of a workshop for supervisors based on principles outlined in the book Strengths-Based Leadership, followed by a team-building retreat and a final leadership presentation drawn from Arizona State University.
Melvil Dewey Medal and $2,000 are awarded for creative professional achievement in library management, training, cataloging and classification, and the tools and techniques of librarianship.
As director for acquisitions and bibliographic access at the Library of Congress (LC), Beacher J. E. Wiggins has overseen the historic merger of LC’s acquisitions and cataloging functions. He has cochaired the US National Libraries RDA Test Coordinating Committee and co-led the New Bibliographic Framework Initiative that will replace MARC. Wiggins was lauded for his leadership in building a flexible and robust framework for sharing bibliographic and other metadata related to cultural heritage objects, along with his willingness to mentor colleagues and share knowledge.knowledge.
ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for Best Book in Library Literature of $5,000 recognizes those who improve management principles and practice, understanding and application of new techniques, or further the education of librarians or other information specialists.
Policy analyst Carrie Russell, director of the Program on Public Access to Information in the Washington, D.C.–based ALA Office for Information Technology Policy, specializes in copyright, ebooks, and accessibility to information for people with disabilities. She was applauded for her ability to present a complex topic such as copyright in a refreshing way with universal appeal and applicability. Her book Complete Copyright for K–12 Librarians and Educators emphasizes the role of K–12 librarians in maximizing fair use through critical thinking rather than focusing on arbitrary guidelines and old institutional policies.
Beta Phi Mu Award of $1,000 is for distinguished service to education for librarianship.
Donor: Beta Phi Mu International Library Science Honorary Society
Elizabeth Aversa’s commitment to mentorship has marked her accomplished career. Aversa, professor of library and information science at the University of
Alabama, Tuscaloosa, spent eight years as director of the university’s library school. Under her leadership, the school’s enrollment grew, programs earned various awards and recognitions, and the school instituted an online program. In 2011, she returned to full-time teaching and research activities, continuing her tutelage of future librarians. She was named Alabama Librarian of the Year in 2011 and received the Association for Library and Information Science Education award for professional service in 2005.
W. Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction of $5,000 is for the author of a military novel set in a time when the US was at war and that honors the service of American veterans.
Donor: W. Y. Boyd II
Ralph Peters, a retired US Army officer, gives a detailed account of the events leading up to and including the three days of the Battle of Gettysburg in Cain at Gettysburg. The story’s major characters—Generals George Meade (Union Army), Robert E. Lee (Confederate Army), and James Longstreet (Lee’s corps commander)—as well as the men in battle, experience all the aspects of war: carnage, politics, courage, glory, and defeat. Well-researched and provocatively written, Peters’ telling of one of America’s biggest battles revisits the experience of veterans at a historical moment through a modern lens.
The Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor Award recognizes individuals who have contributed substantially to the foundation through adherence to its principles and/or substantial monetary support.
Sponsor: Freedom to Read Foundation
As director of Free Expression Advocacy for the Association of American Publishers, Judith Platt has led numerous coalitions that work to strengthen free speech and privacy rights, including Banned Books Week, the Campaign for Reader Privacy, the Kids’ Right to Read Project, and the Media Coalition. First elected to the foundation’s board in 1999, Platt served as president from 2007 to 2009, and was elected to her sixth two-year term in 2012.
Sen. Russell Feingold of Wisconsin was the only US senator to vote against the Patriot Act in 2001 due to concerns about civil liberties. He also led efforts in subsequent years to amend some of the act’s most controversial elements, such as the FBI’s ability to obtain library, bookstore, and business records outside regular court channels. After leaving the Senate in 2011, Feingold formed Progressives United, a public education and advocacy organization founded in the wake of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.