ACRL honors the 2021 award recipients

A recognition of professional development

Chase Ollis is ACRL professional development and outreach specialist, email: collis@ala.org

ACRL is pleased to recognize the recipients of its 2021 awards. Made possible by generous corporate support, the annual presentation of ACRL’s awards enables ACRL to honor the very best in academic and research librarianship.

Excellence in Academic Libraries Awards

The recipients of the 2021 Excellence in Academic Libraries Awards are Davidson College E. H. Little Library (Davidson, North Carolina); Tulsa Community College Library (Tulsa, Oklahoma); and Loyola Marymount University William H. Hannon Library (Los Angeles, California). 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, especially in the wake of this challenging and unprecedented year,” said ACRL Interim Executive Director Kara J. Malenfant.

“The 2021 award recipients demonstrate strength and innovation in the face of a global health crisis, a clear commitment to student success and equity, 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.”

Davidson College E. H. Little Library

“The E. H. Little Library has demonstrated how their expertise, programming, and resources support and enhance the strategic priorities of the college,” said Lauren Pressley, chair of the 2021 Excellence in Academic Libraries Awards Committee and associate dean for research and learning services at the University of Washington.

Davidson College E. H. Little Library staff

Davidson College E. H. Little Library staff.

“Of particular note, the library staff has demonstrated that all library work contributes to social justice, providing a model for others to follow in engaging meaningfully with this work at a campus level. The library led, and has been a key partner, in helping transition instruction in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, developing training and ongoing learning opportunities to encourage further faculty development.”

Like many institutions, the COVID-19 pandemic sent Davidson College into an emergency remote situation in March 2020. As faculty scrambled to pivot their in-person courses online and students adjusted to the challenges brought on by the pandemic, the library sprang into action. With a week’s notice, they worked with faculty to transition more than 700 courses into an online environment. As the pandemic continued into the summer, the library team spearheaded efforts to prepare faculty for long-term online teaching through an intensive four-week Digital Learning Institute (DLI), focusing on making online courses accessible and equitable, creating community, and keeping students motivated and engaged. The DLI has since continued as bi-weekly coffee chats designed for faculty to share and discuss challenges and successes in the online classroom.

“We are honored to be recognized by ACRL for the dedication, hard work, and creativity of the E. H. Little Library team,” said Lisa Forrest, Leland M. Park director of the Davidson College Library. “As we work to advance Davidson College’s purpose of preparing students with humane instincts and disciplined and creative minds for lives of leadership and service, we are inspired daily by our students, faculty, and campus partners. We live in an especially fraught moment, and the college’s public commitment to access, racial equity, and social justice compels us to embrace a special set of responsibilities in everything we do. This award is a powerful acknowledgement of the role of the library in helping to create a more hopeful and just future.”

Tulsa Community College Library

“The TCC Library demonstrated a strategic approach of developing strong partnerships with other offices across the institution to further TCC’s educational mission and student support,” Pressley said.

“The library is notable for their use of different types of assessment to enable data-driven decision making. The staff were quick to adapt in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, moving services online and partnering with other units to expand technology lending for their community.”

Staff at the Tulsa Community College Library.

Staff at the Tulsa Community College Library.

TCC Library’s partnerships across campus have been key to its success in supporting student learning and the institution’s mission of “building success through education.” To expand access to technology, the library created the Hotspot @ Home and Student Laptop Loan programs. Hotspot @ Home, funded through a partnership with the TCC Foundation, piloted in 2016 with just ten devices available for three-day checkout periods, has grown to support more than 200 devices available for entire semesters. The Student Laptop Loan Program, created in partnership with TCC’s Student Affairs department, provided 165 laptops for semester-long checkout in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. And in further response to the pandemic, the library supported several other departments across campus with the library’s chat service platform.

“We are both excited and humbled to be recognized for our work,” said Paula Settoon, TCC dean of libraries and knowledge management. “At TCC our vision is an educated, employed, and thriving community. The Library plays a big part in making that vision a reality by partnering with faculty to provide targeted support to students, increasing students’ access to technology, and partnering with other departments to create community both on campus and virtually for the students we serve.”

Loyola Mayrmount University William H. Hannon Library

“The William H. Hannon Library demonstrated a clear case of initiatives that bolster the institution’s mission, in particular encouraging learning, educating the whole person, and social justice,” Pressley noted. “The library has embraced evidence-based practices and built a culture of assessment, which is evident in the outcomes of their initiatives. Further, their leadership in the Institute for Research Design in Librarianship is far-reaching in its impact for the field.”

Loyola Marymount University William H. Hannon Library staff.

Loyola Marymount University William H. Hannon Library staff.

Beginning in 2014, the library supported an annual, yearlong continuing education experience to help novice academic librarians improve their research skills and complete a research project for their design. Catalyzed with grant funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and designed around components of the research process, the Institute for Research Design and Librarianship (IRDL) covers a wide range of topics, including scholarly publishing strategies, various qualitative and quantitative research methods, and tools for strengthening personal networks. Throughout the development of their projects, IRDL participants have access to a formal mentor program, as well as past cohorts. While the pandemic has forced the program to pause, the library plans to resume it when it is safe to do so and is exploring the creation of a virtual summer workshop to help address the needs of intermediate researchers.

“At the William H. Hannon Library, we continually strive to be the best versions of ourselves,” said Kristine R. Brancolini, dean of the library at Loyola Marymount University. “We are driven by our campus culture to be innovative, inclusive, and collaborative. The Jesuit and Marymount values of Loyola Marymount University require us to consider who is left out in any conversation and to identify where we can do better. We are thrilled to receive this honor and hope that our work can serve as a model for libraries of all shapes and sizes.”

Each library will receive $3,000 and a plaque.

Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award

Mark E. Phillips, associate dean for digital libraries at the University of North Texas (UNT), has been named the 2021 recipient of the Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award. Phillips will receive a cash award and plaque and will be recognized at a virtual event hosted by ALA’s Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures division later this year.

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

“The award committee selected Mark Phillips for the Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award from a strong group of nominations,” said Dale Poulter, Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award committee chair and director of library technology and digital services at Vanderbilt University.

“Mark has worked in libraries for more than 15 years. His work in the area of web archiving continues to provide access to government information long after the original websites are no longer available. As Mark has developed digital library infrastructure, he has continued to share the innovations through open-source software.”

Phillips is the architect of the UNT Libraries digital libraries’ infrastructure, which includes the UNT Digital Library, the Portal to Texas History, and the Gateway to Oklahoma History. The digitized contents in these platforms—about 3.4 million digital objects—are freely available to the public and have been accessed more than 144 million times since coming online. As his nominator notes, “These systems are seen as exemplars, and Mark shares his expertise in these areas widely with the library community through his personal blog, publications, and many papers presented both nationally and internationally.”

The Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award is jointly sponsored by ACRL and Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures. The award is funded from an endowment established to honor Hugh C. Atkinson.

Section Awards

CJCLS EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Leadership Award

Recipient: Yumi Shin, coordinator of reference and access services at Lamar State College-Port Arthur. Sponsored by EBSCO Information Services, the $750 award recognizes outstanding achievement in community college leadership. Shin was selected for her commitment to leadership both within her library and in the library community, and her efforts in pursuing a grant to explore ways to get dual-credit high school students involved in their college library through new technology and services.

CJCLS EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Program Award

Recipients: Anjali Parasnis-Samar and Alice Wilson, both of Monroe Community College, for their College Researcher Badging Program. Sponsored by EBSCO Information Services, the $750 award recognizes outstanding achievement in community college programming. The program, made up of a series of missions that each result in a badge and culminate in a researcher certificate, expands information literacy access and has become even more essential in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

DOLS Routledge Distance Learning Librarianship Conference Sponsorship Award

Recipient: Natalie Haber, online services librarian at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. 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. Haber was selected for her significant contributions to distance librarianship through continued service, scholarship, and leadership, including the creation of a worksheet allowing librarians to map their institutions’ distance library service to the ACRL Standards for Distance Learning Library Services.

EBSS Distinguished Education and Behavioral Sciences Librarian Award

Recipient: Kaya van Beynen, associate dean of library research and instruction at the University of South Florida. 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. Van Beynen was selected for her decade-long service to EBSS, strong record of scholarship, and successful implementation of exemplary programs.

IS Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award

Recipient: Nicole Pagowsky, associate research and learning librarian and information literacy instruction program manager at the University of Arizona. 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. Pagowsky was selected for spearheading the Critical Library and Pedagogy Symposium and the impact her books, Critical Library Pedagogy Handbook, vol. 1 and 2, have had on the profession.

IS Innovation Award

Recipients: Alexandria Chisholm and Sarah Hartman-Caverly, reference and instruction librarians at Penn State-Berks, for their Digital Shred Privacy Literacy Initiative project. 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. The project demonstrated a high level of innovation with particular focus on privacy literacy and includes lesson plans that may be adapted at other institutions.

IS Ilene F. Rockman Instruction Publication of the Year Award

Recipients: Alison J. Head, Barbara Fister, and Margy MacMillan for their report “Information Literacy in the Age of Algorithms: Student Experiences with News and Information, and the Need for Change,” published in 2020 by the Project Information Literacy Research Institute. 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. The report was selected for conveying the importance of teaching algorithmic literacy in modern information literacy education.

PPIRS Marta Lange/SAGE-CQ Press Award

Recipient: Jill Severn, archivist and head of access and outreach at the University of Georgia and director of the Russell Forum for Civic Life in Georgia. 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. The Special Collections Faculty Fellowship Program at the University of Georgia, started by Severn, serves as a model for how archival collections can be introduced into political science education.

STS Oberly Award for Bibliography in the Agricultural or Natural Sciences

Recipients: Jen Kirk, government information librarian at Utah State University, and Helen F. Smith, agricultural sciences librarian at Pennsylvania State University, for their work “An Inventory of Published Soil Surveys of the United States.” Funded by the Eunice Rockwood Oberly endowment and given in odd-numbered years, the award recognizes the best English-language bibliography in the field of agriculture or a related science. Kirk and Smith’s work makes soil surveys, which provide rich historical data, easily discoverable to researchers and general users.

ULS Outstanding Professional Development Award

Recipients: Nimisha Bhat, Hailley Fargo, Chelsea Heinbach, and Charissa Powell, members of the editorial team for the professional development blog LibParlor. 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. The team was selected for their efforts to create and promote an online community of practice for librarians.

WGSS Award for Career Achievement in Women & Gender Studies Librarianship

Recipient: Jane Nichols, associate professor and head of the teaching and engagement department at Oregon State University. Sponsored by Duke University Press, the $750 award recognizes an individual librarian for career achievement in the area of women and gender studies librarianship. Nichols was selected for her tireless commitment to women and gender studies, social justice, critical pedagogy, and feminist publishing.

WGSS Award for Significant Achievement in Women & Gender Studies Librarianship

Recipient: Nicola Andrews, instruction and first-year experience librarian at the University of San Francisco. 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. Andrews was selected for her publication “It’s Not Imposter Syndrome: Resisting Self-Doubt as Normal for Library Workers” (In the Library with the Lead Pipe, June 10, 2020).

Copyright Chase Ollis

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