Today the American Library Association (ALA) announced 10 winners of the coveted I Love My Librarian Award. Honorees are exceptional librarians from academic, public, and school libraries who were nominated by patrons nationwide for their expertise, dedication, and profound impact on the people in their communities.
“Even in these unprecedented times, our nation’s librarians continue to empower their patrons, promote inclusion in their space and collections, and provide essential services for their communities,” said American Library Association President Patty Wong. “Congratulations to this year’s I Love My Librarian Award winners, who impact the lives of those they serve every day.”
ALA received more than 1,300 nominations from library users for this year’s award, which demonstrates the breadth of impact of librarians across the country. Hundreds of nominations focused on librarians’ swift and effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic, from hosting virtual programs to distributing books and technology safely to those in need. This year’s award recipients include three academic librarians, four public librarians, and three school librarians.
Honorees will each receive a $5,000 cash prize, a $750 donation to their library, and complimentary registration to ALA’s LibLearnX. The virtual award ceremony will take place during the conference at 3:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, and will be available to stream live at https://www.youtube.com/
The winners are:
Arlington Public Library, Arlington, Texas
After the library space closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Aceves became a bright light for library users in her community. She led weekly virtual programs on the library’s social media platforms, notably her Spanish storytime program for children, keeping library users engaged and connected.
Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, North Carolina
Cromartie has made the library at Western Carolina University a leader in diversity and inclusion efforts, notably for her development and implementation of a program that coaches faculty to employ inclusive pedagogy in their courses and provides funding for classroom materials.
City College of New York, New York City, New York
Gibbons is guiding students to academic success through his service at the City College of New York and across Harlem, notably with his involvement with Harlem Little League Baseball, his forging of partnerships with local organizations, and his work with the City University of New York’s Black Male Initiative.
For her work at Marion Public Library, Marion, Iowa
Following a devastating derecho that affected the entire Marion area and forced the library to permanently close its doors, Greenlee provided vital services to the community, including assessing the structural safety of homes, staffing temporary technology locations across the city, and starting a digital archive to collect and preserve stories of how the community was affected.
Greenlee has currently moved to a position with Vinton Public Library in Vinton, Iowa.
Decorah Middle School and High School, Decorah, Iowa
Horton has transformed the libraries at Decorah Middle School and High School into more welcoming environments that encourage reading and collaboration within the student population. She has worked to diversify the collection with the addition of books featuring LGBTQ characters and topics addressing racism and celebrating differences so all students can see themselves represented in the books available in their libraries.
John Paul Mahofski
Eastern Correctional Institution, Westover, Maryland
During his time at Eastern Correctional Institution, Mahofski has introduced an array of programs that have improved library and information services for the prison population he serves, including creative writing, typing and summer reading programs, and a “Bookmobile” to deliver books to and from people in the institution.
Octavia Fellin Public Library, Gallup, New Mexico
Through forging partnerships with community organizations and city departments across Gallup, Moe has greatly expanded the library’s reach beyond its walls. Under her leadership, the library has offered educational and thought-provoking programming covering historically sensitive topics to the city’s majority-indigenous American community with a presence at a variety of local events.
George D. Oberle
George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
A dedicated historian, Oberle has worked to uncover the hidden racial histories of George Mason University and its namesake through his work establishing the university’s Center for Mason Legacies. His work has resulted in numerous educational resources for the campus community, including a memorial in the center of campus recognizing the individuals enslaved by George Mason.
Forsyth School, St. Louis
After joining the Forsyth School, Pillot quickly centered sustainability in the library’s programming and instructional initiatives. Her efforts include storytimes focused on caring for the planet, teaching students to use information literacy strategies to evaluate recycling facts and myths, and planning a multi-week educational event focused on single-use plastics and plastic bag usage.
Sul Ross Middle School, San Antonio, Texas
The culture of reading at Sul Ross Middle School has transformed as a result of Talamantes’ innovative programs and initiatives, notably the Rebel Bucks program that implements a bookstore model under which books can be purchased through campus currency earned through positive behavior in the classroom. Through the program, students are empowered to read independently and build their own libraries at home.
Since the award’s inception in 2008, library users have shared more than 20,000 nominations detailing how librarians have gone above and beyond to promote literacy, expand access to technology, and support diversity and inclusion in their communities. Information regarding previous award winners can be found on the I Love My Librarian website at http://www.ilovelibraries.
Carnegie Corporation of New York generously sponsors the I Love My Librarian Award. The New York Public Library also supports the award. ALA administers the award through its Communications and Marketing Office, which promotes the value of libraries and librarians.
The winners of the I Love My Librarian Award are selected by the I Love My Librarian Award Committee. This year’s committee members include: Julius C. Jefferson, Jr., (Chair), Immediate
Past President, American Library Association; Kathy Carroll, Immediate Past President, American Association of School Librarians; Jon E. Cawthorne, Immediate Past President, Association of College & Research Libraries; Melanie Huggins, President, Public Library Association; and Caryl Matute, Senior Director of Branch Libraries and Patron Services, New York Public Library.