All Articles » America Has Spoken! Ten Librarians Selected to Receive the 2024 I Love My Librarian Award

America Has Spoken! Ten Librarians Selected to Receive the 2024 I Love My Librarian Award

Composite of ten photos featuring the I Love My Librarian Award recipients and the award logo. Top row from left: Melissa Corey, Claire Dannenbaum, Fred Gitner, Clare Graham, Gabriel Graña. Bottom from left: Diana Haneski, Gladys López-Soto, Ted Quiballo, Mychal Threets, Curt Witcher

The American Library Association (ALA) has announced the 10 recipients of the coveted I Love My Librarian Award! The 2024 award winners include three academic librarians, four public librarians, and three school librarians who were nominated by library patrons nationwide for their expertise, dedication, and profound impact on the people in their communities.

“While much of the national conversation surrounding libraries has fixated on book censorship, and as library workers across the U.S. continue to face historic levels of intimidation and harassment, librarians’ efforts to empower their patrons and provide vital services for their communities shines a spotlight on the enduring value of libraries in our society,” said ALA President Emily Drabinski. “The inspiring stories of this year’s I Love My Librarian Award honorees demonstrate the positive impact librarians have on the lives of those they serve each day."

The 2024 honorees are:

Photo of Melissa CoreyMelissa Corey

Robidoux Middle School in St. Joseph, Missouri

Students at Robidoux Middle School enjoy the full book fair experience from Corey’s biannual Novel Nation Book Fairs. Using grant and Title I funding, Corey researches and purchases more than 1,200 low-cost, high quality books, and each student takes home three free books. Her efforts have provided more than 5,000 books to her community, earning her numerous local accolades for amplifying access to literacy.


Photo of Claire DannenbaumClaire Dannenbaum

Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon

Supporting a diverse population of approximately 15,000 students at Lane Community College, Dannenbaum makes lifelong impacts through her engagement with students’ research projects. Propelled by a passion for art and creativity, she helped develop the library’s makerspace, created an exhibit space featuring rotating displays, and has mentored numerous students who have gone on to pursue advanced degrees after graduation.


Photo of Fred GitnerFred Gitner

Queens Public Library in Jamaica, New York

At Queens Public Library in the nation’s most ethnically and culturally diverse county, Gitner has helped new Americans find support for nearly three decades. His work in the library’s New Americans Program connects immigrants and asylum seekers to education opportunities and resources, including stations inside library branches filled with materials, workshops and programs in other languages, and live phone interpretation service in more than 240 languages.


Photo of Clare GrahamClare Graham

Malvern-Hot Spring County (Ark.) Library in Malvern

Clare Graham is building a strong future for Malvern-Hot Spring County Library and its community by expanding the library’s geographic reach throughout the county’s rural landscape. With help from the Friends group, Graham has converted coin-fed newspaper racks into Little Free Libraries and created the state’s first book kiosk in Bismarck—a town more than 20 miles from Malvern—to offer books, movies, and more. She has also been central in efforts to build a new library annex and park in Bismarck, helping secure six acres of land and coordinate the library’s construction.


Photo of Gabriel GrañaGabriel Graña

R.D. and Euzelle Smith Middle School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Graña has given students at R.D. and Euzelle Smith Middle School command of the library space, a strategy that keeps literacy and the library as the school’s focal point and gives students an outlet to express themselves. Students contribute to book displays and programs and set individualized reading goals, as well as explore new technologies and build new skills in the library’s makerspace. Guided by their input, Graña recataloged the entire library collection by genre to improve discoverability—a seismic project completed over the summer with support from students and parents.


Photo of Diana HaneskiDiana Haneski

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida

In the aftermath of the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, library media specialist and survivor Haneski has been working to heal and navigate her community through the trauma. She took on the responsibility of adopting a trained therapy dog that provides critical emotional support for students and staff, has become certified in mind-body medicine, and created a dedicated Zen room in the library. Beyond her mental health support, Haneski is creating a culture of reading at the school, hosting restaurant-style “book tastings” and training high school reading mentors in the ReadSquad program.


Photo of Gladys E. Lopez-SotoGladys E. López-Soto

University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus

López-Soto helps inventors and entrepreneurs at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, and beyond turn ideas into reality with her deep knowledge of intellectual property. She has brought numerous educational opportunities to the university community and general public, including an annual virtual conference attended by hundreds, and has created a robust website designed to help Spanish-language speakers understand intellectual property rights. López-Soto also facilitates global cultural experiences with the Mi Museo, Nuestros Museos (My Museum, Our Museums) program that connects students from different countries in a collective virtual experience.


Photo of Ted QuiballoTed Quiballo

Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois

At Northwestern University, Quiballo engages vulnerable populations with learning opportunities and supporting the research needs of incarcerated students. Through a summer program facilitated by World Relief Chicago—a Christian humanitarian resettlement organization—he introduces refugee and asylum-seeking youth to new technologies and STEM skills while training student workers and high school interns to lead activities, including video production and 3D printing. And as part of the university’s prison education program, Quiballo has provided research support and information literacy instruction to incarcerated students in Illinois.


Photo of Mychal ThreetsMychal Threets

Solano County (Calif.) Library in Fairfield

Threets has become one of the most recognizable librarians on social media with his viral videos of heartwarming library stories. Speaking from Solano County Library to his hundreds of thousands of followers across Instagram and TikTok, he uses his platform to share words of encouragement to readers or those struggling with mental health, muse about his love of books, and spread awareness about the positive impact of libraries on their communities. Off camera, Threets has been instrumental in promoting mental health best practices, helping install mental health kiosks in the library and its branches that connect patrons with a variety of mental and emotional health services.


Photo of Curt WitcherCurt Witcher

Allen County Ind.) Public Library in Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne, Indiana, draws thousands of visitors each year thanks to Witcher’s genealogy expertise. His decades of work in African American and Jewish genealogy, Native American research, and more have helped cultivate one of the largest genealogy collections in the country at Allen County Public Library and positioned it as an international destination for researchers. Witcher has supported the founding of other local genealogy societies, forged partnerships with FamilySearch and the Internet Archive to make public domain portions of the center’s collection accessible online, and collaborated with an Indiana Tech professor to build a literature and genealogy course.

Since the I Love My Librarian Award’s inception in 2008, library users have shared more than 24,000 nominations detailing how librarians have gone above and beyond to promote literacy, expand access to technology, and support diversity and inclusion in their communities. ALA received nearly 1,400 nominations from library users for this year’s award, demonstrating the breadth of impact of librarians across the country. Nominations focused on librarians’ outstanding service, including expanding access to literacy and library services, outreach within their communities, supporting mental health needs, and more.

Honorees will each receive a $5,000 cash prize as well as complimentary registration and a $750 travel stipend to attend ALA’s LibLearnX event in Baltimore. The award ceremony will take place during the welcome reception beginning at 6:00 p.m. ET on Friday, January 19, 2024, and will stream live on YouTube. Be sure to tune in if you can't join us in person!

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