Today the American Library Association (ALA) announced the recipients of the I Love My Librarian Award. Thousands of library users from across the United States submit nominations for the award each year—but only 10 nominees can receive the honor. This year’s winners from academic, public, and school libraries are being recognized for their expertise, dedication, and impact on their communities.
“Even in these unprecedented times and as our nation’s library workers face historic levels of intimidation and harassment due to an ongoing wave of book censorship, librarians continue to empower their patrons, teach critical literacy skills, promote inclusion in their space and collections, and provide vital services for their communities,” said ALA President Lessa Kanani'opua Pelayo-Lozada. “Congratulations to this year’s I Love My Librarian Award honorees, who positively impact the lives of those they serve every day.”
The 2023 honorees are:
San José (Calif.) State University
Blackmer Reyes has created a unique and welcoming space and given visibility to untold stories at San José State University through the library’s Africana, Asian American, Chicano, and Native American Studies Center. Among her many accomplishments is her oversight of the library’s annual Día de los Muertos celebration, which highlights the history and cultural tradition of the Mexican holiday with an exhibit featuring altars created by local artists, educational programming, performances and food.
Highlands County (Fla.) Library System in Sebring
As manager of Highlands County Library System and coordinator for the Heartland Library Cooperative, Brown has ramped up the library system’s outreach efforts to serve its largely rural population area. One of her signature accomplishments is securing a grant for a mobile library, which travels to multiple cities across the cooperative’s service area and provides materials for check out, WiFi and computer access, and printing services.
Lafayette Public Library, Carencro, Louisiana
Chance is on the front lines in the fight against book censorship as manager of Lafayette Public Library’s North Regional Branch. Her efforts to erect inclusive book displays featuring books with LGBTQ+ themes have put her at odds with the library’s conservative Board of Control as she has spoken in defense of inclusive materials in the library, and her local community has responded with overwhelming support.
Kansas State University in Manhattan
Coleman spearheads Kansas State University’s campus-wide common reading initiative. Known as K-State First Book, the first-year experience program has grown into a massive success and core element of campus culture since its inception in 2010, and now includes an array of campus events throughout the academic year including author talks, panel discussions, awards, and incorporation into course curricula.
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
With his expertise in international affairs and political science, Ettinger supports and helps shape the research mission of George Washington University. His student-centered and engaging approach to research assistance and instruction improves student learning while highlighting the library’s critical role in advancing student success.
Childs Elementary School in Bloomington, Indiana
Frye creates a more hopeful and just future using literacy, inclusivity, and building understanding of current events at Childs Elementary School. In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, she designed a museum-style inquiry room for students to learn and ask questions about Ukrainian culture and the war and to write letters to students in Ukraine.
Wright Brothers School in New York City
Ginsberg-DeVilbiss leverages outside partnerships to engage students at Wright Brothers School, with a strategic focus on sustainability. The library has received a digital beehive from the Savannah Bee Company to spark conversations and lessons about the importance of bees and is working to grow a community garden in partnership with local organization Harlem Grown.
Christ Church Episcopal School, Greenville, South Carolina
Gregory equipts upper school students at Christ Church Episcopal School with strong news and media literacy skills as well as a critical understanding of censorship and intellectual freedom. In one collaboration with a history teacher, she incorporated the school’s location in a rural-suburban area with previously functioning mills to connect student lessons and various resources about labor unions with family stories.
Highbridge School in New York City
Highbridge School librarian Roseanna Gulisano works to ensure students and their families have access to books and more in an underserved district in the Bronx. Splitting time between the school’s two libraries while also teaching a full schedule of elementary classes, Gulisano has worked to secure funding for a variety of student needs including books that students can keep to build their own home libraries, groceries and coats for struggling families, and library technology and furnishings.
Evanston (Ill.) Public Library
Elacsha Madison is elevating teen outreach efforts and bringing innovative STEAM programs to marginalized communities at Evanston Public Library. From hosting a “Taste of the Loft” event at local schools and parks to give students a sample of the library’s teen programming to a partnership with a local organization addressing food injustice, Madison serves as a mentor, advocate, and community builder.
ALA received more than 1,500 nominations from library users for this year’s award. Honorees will each receive a $5,000 cash prize as well as complimentary registration and a travel stipend to attend ALA’s LibLearnX event in New Orleans, where they will be honored in an award ceremony during the event’s welcome reception on January 27.
Since the I Love My Librarian Award’s inception in 2008, library users have shared more than 23,000 nominations detailing how librarians have gone above and beyond to promote literacy, expand access to technology, and support diversity and inclusion in their communities. Information regarding previous award recipients can be found on the I Love My Librarian website at ilovelibraries.org/love-my-librarian.