I Love My Librarian

I Love My Librarian Award Winner Natalia Fernández: Archives and social justice

By on

Our nation’s archives preserve our history, but, thanks to the work of Natalia Fernández, they also promote the cause of social justice.

As curator of the multicultural archives at Oregon State University and as the co-director and lead archivist for the Oregon State Queer Archives, she has preserved and shared the stories and histories of LGTBQ+ community members in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.

At Oregon State University, she has enhanced the library experience of both students and faculty, working, for example, on various projects with the office of Outreach and Engagement.

According to Bradley Boovy, her nominator for the 2017 I Love My Librarian Award, “Natalia is patient and generous with her time. In introducing students to archival materials, she helps bring those materials to life through creative activities and exercises. For example, for the past two years Natalia has facilitated an event called Glitter in the Archives that gives students and community members the opportunity to craft with copies of archival materials. This is just one example of the kinds of innovative and creative ideas that she brings to her work with library users.”

I Love My Librarian Winner Timothy Ryan: A beacon of hope

By on

The Sully Branch Library serves a poverty-ridden area in Rochester, New York. It is reflected in the high crime rate and one of the lowest high school graduation rates in the nation. Lurking about the library is persistent gang activity.

Amidst all these discouraging signs, however, is one figure who provides hope and is an agent of change – young adult librarian Timothy Ryan, one of the winners of the 2017 I Love My Librarian Award.

Ryan’s nominator for the award, Trina Thompson, said, “By offering state of the art technology programs that incorporate 3D printers, video games, coding and game design software, and virtual reality, Mr. Ryan is keeping our teens engaged and off the streets, off of drugs, and out of the gangs.”

But Ryan’s efforts reach beyond virtual reality and offer the youth a firm foundation for a richer reality in the future. He offers to assist them with homework, TASC, SAT, ACT preparation, resume workshops, job fairs, food stamps, medical insurance and even legal questions about custody and divorce.

Ryan succeeds in providing an inclusive environment, Thompson said.

I Love My Librarian winner Rosemary Cooper: A small town library with big ideas

By on

If you want to find out what’s happening in Warwick, New York, visit the Albert Wisner Public Library.

That wasn’t always the case. Cooper, one of the winners of the 2017 I Love My Librarian Award, transformed this small-town library that was underfunded and inadequate into a vibrant 21st-Century community center, said her nominator, Susan Supak.

The library’s value to the community was thrown into vivid relief during Hurricane Sandy. The hurricane rolled through the Warwick area, resulting in downed trees, power outages and flooded roads. In fact, for some, the power outages lasted for as long as 10 days, a hardship made especially difficult by a shortage of gasoline for cars and generators.

The library became a refuge to residents seeking heat, electricity and computers to reach out to loved ones.  Cooper responded to the challenge, extending regular operating hours to meet the demand.

Her engagement with the community has not been limited to extraordinary events or natural disasters.

I Love my Librarian Winner Laurie Doan

By on

Laurie Doan once said that her goal as a teen librarian was “not to build the greatest generation but to build what might need to be the most resilient generation.”

Her work at the Tredyffrin Public Library Strafford, Pennsylvania shows that she is well underway to achieving her goal.  Nora Margolis, her nominator for a 2017 I Love My Librarian Award, said Doan’s contibutions have not only been positive, but also transformative.

“As one teen Claire put it, ‘Laurie helps each kid discover his or her passion. Then, she does everything she can to help us develop those passions.”  Margolis experienced this firsthand, watching Doan work with her 16-year-old son Matt, who needed to raise $1,000 Eagle Scout landscaping project at the Valley Forge Freedoms Foundation.

Matt asked Doan if he could DJ a dance party for 100 children. Doan responded by helping him turn the library into a dance hall. She then went above and beyond, helping Matt run additional events for other local charities.

Margolis said, “The skills and confidence that Matt developed from these events and the supervision that Laurie gave him are largely responsible for his continued love for quality music programming that has continued to this day, where he is now deputy executive director of UC Berkeley’s Dance Marathon that has raised over 50K for pediatric aids and the booking coordinator of UC Berkeley’s concerts programming board that entertains over 26,000 undergrads.”

I Love My Librarian Winner Sheikla Blount: Quiet giant

By on

Sheikla Blount maintains a high standard for the library at Columbiana Middle School in Columbiana, Alabama, even in an environment where it has not necessarily been required.

In the words of Jason Mayfield, her fellow teacher and nominator for the 2017 I Love My Librarian Award, “Ms. Blount has had to fight and create everything that’s good in that library. She hasn’t had resources, finances, or really any encouragement to do the exceptional job that she’s done. Time and again, she’s risen to a standard far above anyone at the school and in the county.”

Mayfield said Blount, whom he calls a “quiet giant,” was the first National Board certified teacher the school has had.  In addition, she has been relentless in making sure media center programs serve the needs of readers, whether they are reluctant or advanced.

Her library is a welcoming place, a warm contrast to what it was before her arrival.  Mayfield said, “The previous librarian wouldn’t open until two weeks into the school year. She would close the entire month of May to inventory. Ms. Blount has always been welcoming Day 1.”

2016 I Love My Librarian Award winner Jamille Rogers: Dressing for success

By on

Jamille Rogers not only serves the students who visit her library at Marguerite Vann Elementary School Conway, Arkansas. She gets to know them and encourages them to make the most of their potential.

Bobby Walker, school principal and her nominator for a 2016 I Love My Librarian Award, said, “Miss Rogers has excellent rapport with students and parents. As an administrator in a building with nearly 500 students, sometimes it’s a challenge to just remember all their names; much less be familiar with all of their interests and concerns. However … Miss Rogers uses the time in her library each week to not only provide meaningful instruction, but to also become familiar with her students.”

A prime example of her powerful motivation skills is the Distinguished Gentleman’s Club. Addressing low academic performance among the male students, Rogers and her fellow members in the Conway School District’s Closing the Achievement Gap Committee. Rogers worked alongside Walker, the Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students) program president, and a local men’s store owner to establish the Distinguished Gentleman’s Club.

I Love My Librarian Award Winner Kathryn Cole: A Librarian for All Seasons

By on

Kathryn Cole, school librarian at Northside Elementary School in Chapel Hill, N.C. has maximized her resources to make her library is not only available to all students, but that those students make the most of their educational opportunities.

According to her nominator for the award, Nancy Zeman, Cole “helps all students in this diversely populated school build literate lives” by creating opportunities for them to identify as readers, encouraging curiosity and exploration through literature and fostering positive relationships with the community.

She has especially distinguished herself in her work with underserved students within the school, making sure all students have equal access.  Her dedication to that mission is evident in her summer reading program. She has worked diligently to combat the summer learning loss known as “the summer slide.”

I Love My Librarian winner Olga Cardenas: Breaking Barriers to Literacy

By on

At the Stanislaus County Library in Modesto (CA), Olga Cardenas makes it her mission to deliver literacy programs, regardless of language or economic barriers.

It is why she received a 2016 I Love My Librarian Award.  Blessed with the ability to communicate in English and Spanish, she reaches families in Stanislaus County burdened with extreme poverty and facing cultural barriers.  Cardenas, who was nominated by the Friends of the Modesto Library,  holds the key these families need to unlock the potential for unlimited opportunities for their children.

As the Youth Services Outreach Librarian, she reaches out to parents in their communities, their workplaces and their houses of worship. Her outreach efforts have also led her to forge partnerships between the library and businesses, service organizations and schools.

I Love My Librarian Award Winner Sherri Ginsberg: Creating a Sanctuary

By on

As the librarian at Hillsides Education Center, an accredited therapeutic residential and day school offering individualized education for students in kindergarten through 12th grade in Pasadena, California, Sherri Ginsberg offers library services to children who have social-emotional, learning, and behavioral challenges.

She also offers library services for children who live in the Residential Treatment Services program located on the same campus, which serves children in the foster care system or who are unable to live at home for other reasons. 

Her efforts to turn the little-used library into a haven for children who have been abused or suffered traumas and losses have justly earned her recognition as one of the recipients of the 2016 I Love My Librarian award.  Ginsberg’s nominator, Alison Bell,  said that since Ginsberg’s arrival in 2006, she has transformed a library that was used only sparingly for after-school programs for the children who lived at Hillsides.

I Love My Librarian Award Winner Roosevelt Weeks: Taking the Library to the Community

By on

Roosevelt Weeks, deputy director of the Houston (Texas) Public Library System (HPL) is one librarian who is willing to go the extra mile.

Rachel Stout, a trainer with the HPL’s Community Engagement Team said Weeks has on many occasions taken time out of his day to drive the Mobile Express when a driver was needed.  That commitment earned him one of the 2016 I Love My Librarian Awards.

She said, “He’s always willing to step in and help out at any level of our organization, and will do just about anything to ensure a successful project or implement a new service.”  My’Tesha Tates, manager of HPL’s Community Engagement Team, who nominated Weeks for the award, said Weeks taught her that libraries are about more than books and walls.  “He has pushed our organization to think outside the box, and made it an indispensable thread in the fabric of Houston,” she said.

For Weeks, community involvement is a high priority. He has partnered with local organizations to spread literacy and the love of reading throughout Houston.  This is shown in his work with the Houston Center for Literacy and the Eastside Village Learning Center. These programs help residents of lower income areas develop the literacy skills they need to enrich their lives.

Pages