Honoring Excellence and Leadership in the Library Profession

2014 ALA Award Winners

September 15, 2014


Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) recognizes the achievements of more than 200 individuals and institutions with various awards. This selection represents only a portion of those honored in 2014 but who are notable for their contributions to the field of librarianship. New this year, the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity is an indication of the scope and influence of these awards. Chosen by juries consisting of colleagues and peers, this year’s award winners are distinguished for their leadership and vision, as well as their continued investment in the profession through mentorship. See more award winners at ala.org/awardsgrants.

Patricia Glass Schuman Patricia Glass Schuman


At the 2014 Midwinter Meeting, the ALA Council conferred Honorary Membership—the Association’s highest honor—on Patricia Glass Schuman. Because of her dedication to America’s right to know and to social justice, she repeatedly changed the culture of ALA, the perception the profession of librarianship has of itself, and its communication with the people of our nation. Schuman helped develop the Social Responsibilities Round Table and its Task Force on Women (now the Feminist Task Force) in the early 1970s. In 1984, Schuman was the first woman elected ALA treasurer, and she instituted transparency, education, and policies that empowered members and helped ALA to gain a more solid financial framework. As president-elect (1990–1991), she helped establish the Library Champions fundraising program. As president (1991–1992), she launched ALA’s first nationwide media campaign, including media training for ALA and chapter leaders and a national radio rally. She is author of six books, has testified before the US Congress, and has been published nationally and internationally. Additionally, Schuman founded ALA’s “Library Advocacy NOW!” effort and cofounded Neal-Schuman Publishers in 1976, which ALA acquired in 2011.

Laurence Copel, winner of the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble LibrarianshipLaurence Copel

THE LEMONY SNICKET PRIZE FOR NOBLE LIBRARIANS FACED WITH ADVERSITY annually recognizes a librarian who has faced adversity with integrity and dignity intact. The honoree receives a $3,000 check, $1,000 in travel expenses, a certificate, and an odd object from Daniel Handler’s private collection.
Donor: Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket)

Laurence Copel, youth outreach librarian and founder of the Lower Ninth Ward Street Library in New Orleans, moved from New York in 2010, and saw a need to provide age-appropriate books to neighborhood youth. Known to local children as the “Book Lady,” she opened a library in her home through self-funding and small donations while living on $350 a week. She also converted her bicycle into a mobile book carrier, allowing her to reach children and families that could not travel to her home. In her efforts to serve young readers, she has had to overcome much adversity, including a burglary, significant weather damage to her home (that destroyed many of the books she planned to give to children), limited financial resources, and no assistance from local politicians. Despite these challenges, Copel has provided more than 7,000 books to children in need. She has demonstrated remarkable dedication and perseverance to the cause of youth literacy and, in the process, ingenuity and spunk.

Robert Maxwell, winner of the ABC-CLIO Award for Best Book in Library LiteratureRobert L. Maxwell

ABC-CLIO AWARD FOR BEST BOOK IN LIBRARY LITERATURE of $2,500 recognizes those who improve man­agement principles and practice, understanding and application of new techniques, or further the education of librarians or other information specialists.

Robert L. Maxwell’s Maxwell’s Handbook for RDA: Resource Description and Access provides an in-depth guide to, and analysis of, the use of Resource Description and Access (RDA), the newly developed and adopted international cataloging rules. The book takes a uniquely thorough, exhaustive approach not only as a manual but as a detailed explanatory guide, and captures the nature of the philosophical shift behind RDA as a forward-looking vehicle reflecting a new age of cataloging. The book has been described as a “landmark work,” particularly considering the shifting and challenging nature of the development of RDA. Senior librarian/special collections and ancient languages cataloger in the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University, Maxwell has also taught cataloging at the University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science. Additionally, he has chaired the Bibliographic Standards Committee of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of ACRL.

Henry Fortunato, director of public affairs for Kansas City (Mo.) Public Library, accepted the ALA Excellence in Library Programming AwardKansas City (Mo.) Public Library

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

The “Greetings from Kansas City” program and exhibitions featured historic postcards from the library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections, as well as local historical programs, to connect the citizens of Kansas City to its past. The postcards, which date from 1900 to 1950, were organized into three categories: business and industry; history and heritage; and entertainment, arts, and culture. The exhibition ran for five months at the central library, providing exposure to the library collection and increasing attendance from the previous year by 14%. Exhibits at four branch locations featured postcards from the respective neighborhoods and highlighted the cultural diversity of Kansas City. Building on the central library’s program, the branch programs reflected the city’s eclectic neighborhoods.

Nick Buron, vice president of public library services for Queens (N.Y.) Library, accepted the ALA/Information Today, Inc. Library of the Future AwardQueens (N.Y.) Library

ALA/INFORMATION TODAY, INC. LIBRARY OF THE FUTURE AWARD of $1,500 is given 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.

In 2013, Google donated 5,000 tablets to help seven libraries rebuild after the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. As a result, Queens Library started the “Enriching the Lives of a Challenged Community by Lending Tablets” project. Serving an economically disadvantaged community, the challenge for Queens Library was that a tablet with full functionality would require Wi-Fi—a service that was scarce and not always affordable. The tablets also had the potential to create a maintenance burden on library staffers already challenged by operating out of small, interim spaces. Staff members created a customized tablet interface that would be useful with or without Wi-Fi, make the tablets accessible for beginners, and provide library-curated content on topics of interest to the community.

Beth Paskoff, winner of the Beta Phi Mu AwardBeth M. Paskoff

BETA PHI MU AWARD of $1,000 is for distinguished service to education for librarianship.
Donor: Beta Phi Mu International Library Science Honorary Society

Paskoff has maintained a service agenda connected to library education, recruitment for the profession, and professional associations throughout her career. Currently director of the Louisiana State University (LSU) School of Library and Information Science in Baton Rouge, Paskoff has taught more than nine different courses at the graduate level, developing six of them; served on and chaired more than 100 graduate committees; and published numerous book chapters and refereed articles and reports. Her biggest challenge at LSU was the proposed closure of the LSU School of Information and Library Science in 2009. Adroitly navigating the politics of the university, she negotiated firmly, insisting that the school not be disbanded. With her calm leadership and the assistance of alumni, students, and the Louisiana library community, the school was saved and is now a part of the College of Human Sciences and Education. She is a past president of the Louisiana Library Association, was named a Distinguished Member of the Academy of Health Professionals by the Medical Library Association, and received the Dorothy B. Skau Award for Excellence.

Karen Schneider, winner of the Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change AwardKaren G. Schneider

ELIZABETH FUTAS CATALYST FOR CHANGE AWARD of $1,000 and a 24-karat gold-framed citation is given biennially to a librarian who invests time and talent to make positive changes in the profession of librarianship by: taking risks to further the cause; helping new librarians grow and achieve; working for change within ALA or other library organizations; inspiring colleagues to excel.
Sponsor: Elizabeth Futas Memorial Fund

Throughout her career, Schneider, university librarian at Holy Names University in Oakland, California, has served as a leader and innovator. She is a founding member of both the Resource Sharing Committee of the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium and the first rapid delivery network for California’s private academic libraries. As a member of ALA Council, she has provided insightful and constructive discussion to issues facing the organization. She has been an outspoken and articulate proponent of accountability, change, and action. Her blog, Free Range Librarian, one of the earliest in the profession, and her book, A Practical Guide to Internet Filters, resulted in her selection as an expert witness in the Mainstream Loudoun First Amendment case. Both are examples of her groundbreaking and lifelong commitment within the library community.

Ann Symons, winner of the Equality AwardAnn K. Symons

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

Symons, school librarian and international library consultant, has been an active and effective supporter of intellectual freedom for much of her career, focusing extensively on school libraries and GLBT issues. Whether as a school librarian in Alaska, the president of ALA, the librarian of the Anglo-American School in Moscow, Russia, or as a consultant for library organizations, she has been a longtime and consistent champion of intellectual freedom and the right to read. Most recently, she was a consultant to the American School of Lima, Peru, which faced a parent challenge to eight GLBT picture books with same-sex parents. Her conference program, “Serving GLBT Families: Where Access, Equality, and Intellectual Freedom Collide,” has been presented at the joint Washington/Oregon Library Association Conference and the Alaska Library Association Conference. It was on the program at the 2014 Texas Library Association Conference in April. She is currently chair-elect of ALA’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table.

Herbert Krug, winner of the Freedom to Read Roll of Honor AwardHerbert Krug

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

Krug, a founding member of the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF), has served as trustee for three years, including two terms as treasurer. Prior to that, he volunteered service to FTRF since its inception in 1969, using expertise developed over a long career in direct marketing to contribute immeasurably to successful fundraising and membership development efforts. He is personally among the most generous donors in FTRF’s history. In 2009, Krug was a key member of FTRF’s 40th Anniversary Gala committee, which raised tens of thousands of dollars for the foundation; he currently is helping to coordinate FTRF’s 45th anniversary celebrations this year. Krug also spearheaded the creation of FTRF’s Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund, created in honor of his late wife, FTRF’s founding executive director, after her 2009 death. Among his efforts for the Krug Fund has been coordinating the annual selection of grants for Banned Books Week Read-Outs, continuing his wife’s substantial legacy in honor of the freedom to read.

Julia Mitschke, operations manager at Cedar Park (Tex.) Public Library Foundation, accepted the Gale Cengaged Learning Financial Development AwardCedar Park (Tex.) Public Library Foundation

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.

When the Cedar Park (Tex.) Public Library (CPPL) lost some of its funding in 2012, the Cedar Park Public Library Foundation had to develop other opportunities to support the library’s enrichment program and technology needs. The foundation further developed Fable Fest, an annual fundraising festival it organizes that includes arts and crafts, costume characters, demonstrations, performances, and activities. The 2009 Fable Fest event raised $2,428, and in each subsequent year the foundation sought to increase the sponsorship and attendance. For the 2013 Fable Fest, the CPPL and the Cedar Park Public Library Foundation raised $21,037, a 20% increase over the previous year. The event attracted more than 7,500 attendees and was cosponsored by the Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce and the Cedar Park Public Library Foundation, and local businesses and organizations were invited to attend.

Kaleigh Trendall, staff development specialist at Martin County (Fla.) Library System, accepted the H. W. Wilson Library Staff Development Grant.Martin County (Fla.) Library System

H. W. WILSON LIBRARY STAFF DEVELOPMENT GRANT awards $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

The “Connect: Customer Service Excellence at Martin County (Fla.) Library System” program focuses on developing and training staff members to be knowledgeable in every area of library operations. After completion, staffers will be capable and confident in answering complex questions and handling difficult situations. With this grant, the Martin County Library System plans to develop the final team-building module of the program, develop and implement program evaluation tools, and fund a speaker for its annual staff training day. Six other modules have already been developed and launched, focusing on communication, technology, event planning, collection development, budget basics, and people in charge. Kaleigh Trendell, the system’s staff development specialist, is responsible for implementing the Connect training program and measuring its impact.

Maurice J. Freedman, winner of the Joseph Lippincott AwardMaurice J. Freedman

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

Freedman’s tireless advocacy for socially responsible cataloging and library technologies and processes has had a profound impact on the profession, nationally and internationally. He has been a consultant and speaker for the US State Department, the US Information Service, and other organizations in close to 30 countries on five continents. For example, he led a team to design a resource-sharing and online information network for the eight largest research libraries in Latvia. His intense concentration on salary issues resulted in tools, training, and advocacy programs that have helped to make the conversation about fair pay and improved status for library workers acceptable—and welcome. In fact, the establishment of the APA (Allied Professional Association) followed his ALA presidency (1991–1992). He is currently director of the New City (N.Y.) Library.

Robert Wolven, winner of the Melvil Dewey MedalRobert Wolven

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.
Donor: OCLC

Wolven, associate university librarian for bibliographic services and collection development at Columbia University Libraries, is cochair of the ALA Digital Content and Libraries Working Group, which seeks to make ebooks more accessible to public library users. He also leads in advancing technical services as chair of ALCTS’s Head of Technical Services in Large Research Libraries Discussion Group, as a member of the Library of Congress’s Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control, and of the OCLC Record Use Policy Council. As a program steering committee chair of HathiTrust, his role involves developing the programs and policies that will enable HathiTrust to achieve its goal of making millions of digitized books freely accessible. His innovative approaches to the collection and archiving of web resources and to deep collaboration are exemplified in Columbia and Cornell University’s 2CUL partnership, which allows the institutions to pool resources to provide content, expertise, and services.

Schneider Family Book Awards

SCHNEIDER FAMILY BOOK AWARDS of $5,000 honor authors or illustrators for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for children and adolescent audiences. Recipients are selected in three categories: young readers (ages 0–8), middle readers (ages 9–13), and teen readers (ages 14–18).
Donor: Katherine Schneider

Melissa Sweet (left) and Jen Bryant (right), winners of the Scneider Family Book Award for young children.Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, the picture book biography of the self-taught African-American folk artist, written by Jen Bryant (right) and illustrated by Melissa Sweet (left) won the award for young children. The book’s inspiring story demonstrates the dogged determination of a wounded soldier to paint again. After a World War I injury threatened to end his potential artistic career, he trained himself to paint by supporting his injured arm with the other hand. His paintings were eventually displayed in galleries and museums around the country. Bryant and Sweet’s stunning picture biography effectively depicts that perseverance and courage are essential ingredients of living with a disability and realizing your dreams.

Merrie Haskell, winner of the Schneider Family Book Award for middle readers.Merrie Haskell

Handbook for Dragon Slayers, written by Merrie Haskell, won the award for best middle school title. In this high-spirited fantasy, Princess Tilda—sheltered due to her deformed foot—longs to escape her destiny. A thwarted kidnapping sends Tilda, Lord Parzifal, and her handmaiden Judith on a dragon-hunting quest. Supported by friends and dragons, Tilda realizes her physical limitations do not define her, and the endearing heroine’s perception of what her life can be is altered by her adventure.

Elizabeth Wein, winner of the Schneider Family Book Award for teen readersElizabeth Wein

The teen award winner is Rose Under Fire, written by Elizabeth Wein. After a daring flight maneuver, young pilot Rose Justice is captured by Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Assigned to a high-security unit, Rose survives under the wing of the “Rabbits,” Polish political prisoners subjected to medical experimentation by Nazi doctors. Wein’s searing portrayal helps allow readers to imagine the physical and emotional consequences of Nazi torture.

Read YA author Kody Keplinger’s thoughts on the importance of the Schneider Family Book Awards.

Sylvia Vardell, winner of the Scholastic Library Publishing AwardSylvia Vardell

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 exemplify outstanding achievement in the profession.
Donor: Scholastic Library Publishing

Professor at the School of Library and Information Studies at Texas Woman’s University, Vardell has served at various universities in Texas and Nevada, and in Zimbabwe as a Fulbright Scholar. She has taught courses about children’s and young adult literature at both the master’s and doctoral levels, has authored or coauthored more than 80 published articles, has contributed chapters to, or authored, more than 25 books, and has given in excess of 100 presentations at the regional and national levels. Among her other professional activities, she is a prolific author, especially in the area of children’s poetry. She is a regular poetry columnist for ALA’s Book Links magazine, a communicator of poetry for young people through her blog Poetry for Children, an editor of digital poetry anthologies, and a very successful grant recipient. She has served as a member of many ALA committees, as president of the United States Board on Books for Young People, and as chair of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children.

Luis Herrera, winner of the Sullivan Award for Public Library Administrators Supporting Services to ChildrenLuis Herrera

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

As city librarian at San Francisco Public Library (SFPL), Herrera demonstrates passion and exceptional support for public library services to children. As a member of the PLA board, he supported the launch of a partnership with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which led to the PLA/ALSC Every Child Ready to Read @ your library (ECRR) initiative. He was instrumental in negotiating the Memorandum of Agreement between PLA and ALSC that institutionalized and provided funding for ECRR @ your library, which has been implemented nationally. At SFPL, he has overseen the development and deployment of many programs, including the first multiyear partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District, and procured an IMLS grant for a Teen Digital Media Center. Herrera has also been a longtime and active member of Reforma.

Ralph Peters, winner of the W. Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military FictionRalph Peters

W. Y. BOYD LITERARY AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN MILITARY FICTION of $5,000 is given to 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’s novel Hell or Richmond is a stunning recreation of the hell of war during the fighting in Virginia from May to June 1864. This catastrophic month of brutal combat resulted in 88,000 casualties as Grant pushed the Union Army south, stopping at nothing to defeat Lee and his army of Confederates. A former military officer himself, Peters brings to his writing a deep grasp of the military culture of the period; a detailed knowledge of the Union and Confederate chains of command; and a vital understanding of the climate and terrain of the fields of combat. Peters’s writing further gives voice to the common men who composed the warring armies. Hell or Richmond portrays the human side of war, along with the horrific carnage and the influence of politics, inspiring courage, glory, and defeat. Drawn from countless sources and brilliantly written, this well-crafted book is a must-read for those who long to understand the blood, toil, and torment faced by both armies as our Civil War neared its end.


Courtney L. Young

Advocate. Today.

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