ACRL honors the 2020 award recipients

A recognition of professional development

Chase Ollis is ACRL program officer, email: collis@ala.org

ACRL is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2020 awards. Made possible by generous corporate support, the annual presentation of awards and grants enables ACRL to honor the very best in academic and research librarianship.

Excellence in Academic Libraries

The recipients of the 2020 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award are the Nevada State College Marydean Martin Library (Henderson, Nevada), Santa Rosa Junior College Libraries (Santa Rosa, California), and the University of Maryland Libraries (College Park, Maryland). Sponsored by ACRL and GOBI Library Solutions from EBSCO, the award recognizes the staff of a college, community college, and university library for programs that deliver exemplary services and resources to further the educational mission of the institution.

“I am delighted that ACRL can highlight the many contributions that academic libraries make to their institutions,” said ACRL Executive Director Mary Ellen K. Davis. “This year’s recipients demonstrate a clear commitment to student success and equity, a creative and inventive approach to developing innovative programs, and engagement with their local and campus communities. Receiving an Excellence in Academic Libraries Award is a tribute to each library and its entire staff for outstanding services, programs, and leadership.”

The Nevada State College Marydean Martin Library, recipient in the college category, impressed the award committee with its digital transformation and dedication to textbook affordability.

Nevada State College Marydean Martin Library staff.

Nevada State College Marydean Martin Library staff.

“The culture of the Marydean Martin Library and the commitment of library leadership to providing space and opportunities for their staff to engage in team building, along with their attention to the morale of their librarians, staff, and student employees, empowers library staff to own and contribute to the campus mission,” said Cheryl Middleton, chair of the 2020 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award Committee and associate university librarian for research and scholarly communication at Oregon State University. “Faced with a lack of space to grow the library’s physical collections and looking for innovative ways to serve a commuter student population, the library—with the input of students and faculty—created the first digital academic library in Nevada. And with input from the student body, library space was transformed into a warm and welcoming space for students to spend time learning and relaxing when they are on campus.

“Marydean Martin Library staff continually make a positive impact across campus through developing strong relationships with faculty and student government,” Middleton continued. “Librarians are embedded in the campus curriculum and contribute to retention and graduation rates of a historically underrepresented population.”

Sponsored by the office of the provost, the No-Cost Textbook Summer Institute is the library’s flagship textbook affordability program. Librarians lead a six-week institute to support instructors as they convert their courses from using paid textbooks to open educational resources or library-provided e-books. Since the program’s inception two years ago, more than 15% of full-time instructors have participated in the program, and students have saved nearly $600,000 on textbook costs. Nevada State librarians view textbook affordability as an equity issue, and assessment data from the program also indicates improved student outcomes, with higher grades in classes where students were not required to purchase a textbook.

“Our campus is thrilled to be recognized for this prestigious award,” said Nathaniel King, director of library services at Nevada State College. “Our library team is an exceptionally talented group, and they are leaders in seeking creative ways to impact the academic success of our students. These efforts would not be possible without support from excellent campus leadership, dedicated and innovative faculty, and a wide range of incredible campus partners. We are very humbled to have our collective efforts recognized. Our deepest thanks to the work of the ACRL staff and the selection committee.”

Santa Rosa Junior College Libraries (SRJC), recipient of this year’s award in the community college category, was chosen for its dedication of services to its campus community.

Santa Rosa Junior College Libraries staff.

Santa Rosa Junior College Libraries staff.

“Santa Rosa Junior College Libraries presented a compelling story of learning services and programs that serve the faculty, staff, and students of their institution,” noted Middleton. “The libraries have redesigned their spaces and services based on extensive student input, which has received an overwhelmingly positive response from students. As one example of this redesign, the libraries have transformed the reference desk into the Research Hub, where students come to complete their assignments from start to finish through guided practice and peer-to-peer learning. As the application notes, ‘Students tell us they would like to live at the library because we have designed it around their needs.’

“The libraries have also developed targeted services and programs to decrease the ‘equity in access gap,’” continued Middleton. “Special programs such as a unique collaboration between ESL faculty and librarians have resulted in the libraries being a safe space for international students to receive help and complete assignments. Additionally, the collaborative work between the libraries and student affairs has provided textbooks and long-term technology checkouts for students through its new Tech Gear Desk.”

As one example of its exemplary commitment to the campus community, the libraries joined an emergency rapid response team in providing support for the campus in a time of crisis following a firestorm in October 2017 that devastated the SRJC community. While the campus was closed and classes were canceled, the library remained open as a welcoming space for students and provided food, shelter, emotional support, and computer and Internet access as they began the process of rebuilding their lives. During this time, the library hosted open counseling sessions by college mental health professionals, offered therapy dogs, and created listening boards to help students express their feelings and articulate their needs. The handwritten responses from these boards have been placed in a time capsule created by students to acknowledge SRJC’s 100th anniversary.

“We are excited and proud to have earned the 2020 ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award,” said Phyllis Usina, interim SRJC library dean. “The SRJC Libraries team is truly exceptional in their focused mission to foster academic excellence and success for students. It is a great honor that their dedication to student learning and innovative programming has received this national recognition. It is the little things each of us do every day in serving our students, our institution, and our community that make the difference.”

The University of Maryland Libraries, recipient in the university category, was selected for its contributions to digital humanities scholarship and its engagement with students, faculty, and outside partners.

University of Maryland Libraries staff.

University of Maryland Libraries staff.

“The University of Maryland Libraries stand out amongst their peers for the development of a robust library staff culture of innovation, as well as their extensive collaborations and engagement with the university’s core curriculum, students, and faculty,” said Middleton. “The influence and impact of the libraries’ partnerships can be seen throughout the institution.

“The libraries successfully built a relationship with the Student Government Association that resulted in increased funding to the library along with a successful crowdfunding campaign that resulted in $13,000 from the student body to support the Top Textbooks Program,” Middleton continued. “Additionally, the $60 million ‘Fearless Fundraising Campaign’ the library is participating in to endow library fellows, digitization, archivists and the Top Textbooks Program illustrate their ongoing commitment to sustaining digital services in the future.”

The libraries’ contributions to the university’s digital humanities scholarship are illuminated by numerous projects and programs. Through its GIS and Spatial Data Center, the library has facilitated a student mapathon of buildings and roads in international disaster areas as part of a broader humanitarian effort to assist Doctors without Borders, and is working to create a virtual wayfinding app to link coordinates with library rooms, services, and call numbers to help users find what they need.

The libraries are also conducting numerous digitization efforts of its special collections, including historic Maryland newspapers, AFL-CIO newspapers, back issues of its student newspaper, rare audio recordings of community-based radio stations from the National Federation of Community Broadcasting Archives, and materials related to Alice in Wonderland. Additionally, since 2005 the libraries have partnered with the National Diet Library of Japan to preserve and provide digital access to publications issued in Japan during the first four years of the Allied Occupation from 1945 to 1949.

“My colleagues and I are thrilled and grateful to receive this prestigious award from ACRL,” said Adriene I. Lim, dean of libraries at the University of Maryland. “We strive to ensure that our values of compassion and inclusion drive our strategies and that a culture of innovation informs the design of our library programs and services. For this reason, it’s even more of an honor and validation when other library leaders recognize our work, because they know the dedication and resourcefulness it takes to advance those aspirations every day.”

Each library will receive $3,000 and a plaque, to be presented at an award ceremony held on each recipient’s campus.

Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award

Beth Denker, George Machovec, and Rose Nelson of the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries have been named the 2020 recipients of the Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award. Denker is the e-resource licensing and administrative manager, Machovec is the executive director, and Nelson is the assistant director. The team will receive a cash award and citation at the ALA Annual Conference.

Named in honor of one of the pioneers of library automation, the Atkinson Award recognizes an academic librarian who has made significant contributions in the area of library automation or management and has made notable improvements in library services or research.

“Together, Denker, Machovec, and Nelson exemplify the spirit of the Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award through their outstanding contributions toward the improvement of library services,” said Holly Tomren, Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award committee chair and head of metadata strategy and digitization services at Temple University. “Their collaborative and innovative work in library automation has had a broad impact on the library profession beyond the Rocky Mountain region, particularly in the development of Gold Rush, a collection assessment and electronic resource management system used by libraries nationally and internationally.”

The Alliance leadership has also piloted a creative and forward-thinking program to implement interlibrary loan for streaming video through their SILLVR project,” continued Tomren. “Additionally, Denker, Machovec, and Nelson together provide a model for consortium management in their delivery of patron-centered library services and efficient library systems, including their Prospector union catalog, transformative licensing agreements for electronic resources, shared print initiatives, interlibrary loan services, and professional development opportunities for their members.”

The Hugh C. Atkinson Award is jointly sponsored by four ALA divisions: ACRL, the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services, the Library Leadership and Management Association, and the Library and Information Technology Association. The award is funded from an endowment established to honor Hugh C. Atkinson.

Section awards

CJCLS EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Leadership

Recipient: Jean Amaral, associate professor and open knowledge librarian at Borough of Manhattan Community College. Sponsored by EBSCO Information Services, the $750 award recognizes outstanding achievement in community college leadership.

CJCLS EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Program

Recipient: The Colorado Community College System for their program “Colorado’s Top 40: Curating OER Content for the Top 40 GT Pathway Courses.” Sponsored by EBSCO Information Services, the $750 award recognizes outstanding achievement in community college programming.

CLS Innovation in College Librarianship

Recipients: Alexandria Chisholm, Sarah Hartman-Caverly, and Brett Spencer, all reference and instruction librarians at Penn State University-Berks Campus, for their work on creating the Discovery Lab at Thun Library. Sponsored by SCELC, the $1,000 award honors librarians who demonstrate a capacity for innovation in working with or serving undergraduates or instructors in the areas of programs, services, and operations, or creating innovations for library colleagues that facilitate their ability to better serve the library’s community.

DLS Routledge Distance Learning Librarianship Conference Sponsorship

Recipient: Samantha (Sam) Harlow, online learning librarian at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Sponsored by Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, the award provides a $1,200 conference sponsorship to honor any individual ACRL member working in the field of, or contributing to the success of, distance learning librarianship or related library service in higher education.

EBSS Distinguished Education and Behavioral Sciences Librarian

Recipient: Cassandra Kvenild, associate dean of libraries at the University of Wyoming. Sponsored by the American Psychological Association, the $2,500 award honors a distinguished academic librarian who has made an outstanding contribution as an education and/or behavioral sciences librarian through accomplishments and service to the profession.

ESS De Gruyter European Librarianship Study Grant

Recipient: Emma Popowich, acting head of the Elizabeth Dafoe Library and romance languages librarian at the University of Manitoba, for her project “A Conscience of Cloth: Blue Textiles in the Identity of the Midi.” Sponsored by the Walter de Gruyter Foundation for Scholarship and Research, the grant provides €2,500 to support research in European Studies with an emphasis on librarianship, the book trade, resource documentation, and similar information-science related topics.

IS Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian

Recipient: Veronica Arellano Douglas, instruction coordinator at the University of Houston. Sponsored by ACRL’s Instruction Section (IS), the $1,000 award recognizes an individual librarian for significant contributions to the advancement of instruction in a college or research library environment.

IS Innovation

Recipients: Kathy Anders, graduate studies librarian, Sarah LeMire, coordinator of first-year programs, and Terri Pantuso, coordinator of freshman composition (all of Texas A&M University), for their project “OER Textbook for Composition and Information Literacy.” Sponsored by EBSCO Information Services, the $3,000 award honors librarians who have implemented innovative approaches to information literacy at their respective institutions or in their communities.

IS Ilene F. Rockman Instruction Publication of the Year

Recipient: Amanda L. Folk for her article “Reframing Information Literacy as Academic Cultural Capital: A Critical and Equity-Based Foundation for Practice, Assessment, and Scholarship,” published in 2019 by ACRL. Sponsored by Carrick Enterprises, the $1,000 award recognizes an outstanding publication related to instruction in a library environment that was published in the last two years.

PPIRS Marta Lange/SAGE-CQ Press

Recipient: Jeremy Darrington, politics librarian at Princeton University. Sponsored by SAGE-CQ Press, the $1,000 award recognizes a librarian who has made distinguished contributions to bibliography and information service in law or political science.

RBMS Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab Exhibition Catalogue

Sponsored by Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab, American Book Prices Current, this award recognizes outstanding catalogs published by American or Canadian institutions in conjunction with library exhibitions.

Category 1 (Expensive) Recipient: The Huntington Library for “Nineteen Nineteen.”

Category 1 Honorable Mention: The Grolier Club for “A Matter of Size: Miniature Bindings & Texts from the Collection of Patricia J. Pistner.”

Category 2 (Moderately Expensive) Recipient: The University of Pennsylvania Libraries Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts for “Wise Men Fished Here: A Centennial Exhibition in Honor of the Gotham Book Mart, 1920-2020.”

Category 2 Honorable Mention: Texas A&M University Libraries Cushing Memorial Library & Archives for “The Stars Are Ours: Infinite Diversities in Science Fiction & Fantasy.”

Category 2 Honorable Mention: Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library for “Bibliomania; or Book Madness: A Bibliographical Romance.”

Category 3 (Inexpensive) Co-Recipient: Oakland University Art Gallery for “Encountering the Rare Book.”

Category 3 Co-Recipient: The University of Guelph School of Fine Art and Music and the Archives and Special Collections at McLaughlin Library for “Spaces of Wonder, Wonder of Space: Encountering the Eighteenth Century in Image, Object, and Text.”

Category 4 (Brochures) Recipient: The University of Alberta Bruce Peel Special Collections for “Fishing with Flies.”

Category 4 Honorable: The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Rare Book & Manuscript Library for “Making Mr. Darcy: Cultural Context for the Regency Gentleman.”

Category 5 (Electronic) Recipient: Northwestern University Transportation Library for “Independence in the Air: African Aviation in the 1960s.”

ULS Outstanding Professional Development

Recipient: Mary Ann Hansen, research services librarian at Montana State University and Tribal College Librarians Institute coordinator. Sponsored by Library Juice Academy, the $1,000 award recognizes librarians, archivists, or curators whose contributions to providing professional development opportunities for librarians have been especially noteworthy or influential.

WGSS Award for Career Achievement

Recipient: Emily Drabinski, critical pedagogy librarian at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Sponsored by Duke University Press, the $750 award recognizes an individual librarian for career achievement in the area of Women and Gender Studies librarianship.

WGSS Award for Significant Achievement

Recipient: Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz, associate dean of teaching, learning, and engagement at New York University. Sponsored by Duke University Press, the $750 award honors a distinguished academic librarian who has made outstanding contributions to women and gender studies through accomplishments and service to the profession.

Recipients of section awards will be presented with their awards during an event planned by each sponsoring section. For full details, please contact the appropriate award chair. Additional information on ACRL’s awards, along with listings of past recipients, is available at www.ala.org/acrl/awards.

Copyright Chase Ollis

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