William C. Gibbons, associate professor and curator of archives and special collections at the City College of New York (CCNY) in New York City, is known in his community as a librarian, teacher, and mentor who inspires students to embrace and overcome obstacles—and it has led him to become an I Love My Librarian (ILML) Award winner this year.
Gibbons's award nominators lauded his work with the Black Male Initiative, a program spanning the entire City University of New York system that is focused on increasing matriculation, retention, and graduation rates of underrepresented students, particularly men of color. His dedication to the initiative has helped forge paths for students to become future educators. As his ILML Award nominator noted: “[Gibbons] work with the Black Male Initiative made it possible for many male college students to find a voice in a world not equipped to embrace them.”
Gibbons seamlessly blends his personal interests with his professional scholarship, as well, with a particular focus on Harlem and local sports. From his involvement with Harlem Little League Baseball to advising on the development of a museum exhibit exploring New York’s basketball history, he weaves sports and scholarship into unique educational opportunities. He has developed partnerships between CCNY and organizations across Harlem—including New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Harlem Documentary Association—to immerse students in the neighborhood’s vibrant cultural identity. “The face of the everyday person is where William Gibbons does his best work,” his nominator wrote. “He gives his time, his expertise, and his skills to anyone who is lucky to encounter him at the library reference desk.”
Gibbons and nine other ILML Award winners each receive a $5,000 cash prize, a $750 donation to their library, and complimentary registration to the American Library Association’s LibLearnX. Since the ILML Award’s inception in 2008, library users have shared more than 20,000 nominations detailing how librarians have gone above and beyond to promote literacy, expand access to technology, and support diversity and inclusion in their communities. Learn more about previous award winners.