Thousands of library users from across the United States submit nominations for the American Library Association’s I Love My Librarian Award each year—but only 10 nominees can receive this 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, our nation’s librarians continue to empower their patrons, promote inclusion in their space and collections, and provide essential services for their communities,” said American Library Association President Patty Wong. “Congratulations to this year’s I Love My Librarian Award winners, who impact the lives of those they serve every day.”
More than 1,300 nominations were received for this year’s award. Honorees will each receive a $5,000 cash prize, a $750 donation to their library, and complimentary registration to ALA’s LibLearnX.
The winners are:
Arlington (Texas) Public Library
After the library closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Aceves led weekly virtual programs on the library’s social media platforms, notably her Spanish storytime program for children, keeping library users engaged and connected.
Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina
Cromartie has made the library at Western Carolina University a leader in diversity and inclusion efforts, notably for her implementation of a program that coaches faculty to employ inclusive pedagogy in their courses and provides funding for classroom materials.
City College of New York in New York City
Gibbons guides students to academic success through his service at City College of New York and across Harlem, notably with his involvement with Harlem Little League Baseball, his forging of partnerships with local organizations, and his work with the City University of New York’s Black Male Initiative.
For her work at Marion (Iowa) Public Library
Following a devastating derecho that forced Marion Public Library to permanently close its doors, Greenlee provided vital services to the community, including assessing the structural safety of homes, staffing temporary technology locations across the city, and starting a digital archive to collect and preserve stories of how the community was affected. Greenlee is now employed by Vinton (Iowa) Public Library.
Decorah (Iowa) Middle School and High School
Horton has transformed the libraries at Decorah Middle School and High School into more welcoming environments by adding books featuring LGBTQ characters and topics addressing racism and celebrating differences so all students can see themselves represented.
Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover, Maryland
During his time at Eastern Correctional Institution, Mahofski has introduced programs that have improved library and information services for the prison population, including creative writing, typing, and summer reading programs and a “bookmobile” to deliver books to and from people in the institution.
Octavia Fellin Public Library in Gallup, New Mexico
Through forging partnerships with community organizations and city departments across Gallup, Moe has expanded the library’s reach beyond its walls, offering programming covering historically sensitive topics to the city’s majority-indigenous American community at a variety of local events.
George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia
A dedicated historian, Oberle has worked to uncover the hidden racial histories of George Mason University and its namesake through his work establishing the university’s Center for Mason Legacies, which has resulted in numerous educational resources for the campus community, including a memorial recognizing individuals enslaved by George Mason.
Forsyth School in St. Louis
After joining Forsyth School, Pillot centered sustainability in the library’s programming and instructional initiatives by adding storytimes that focused on caring for the planet, teaching students to use information literacy strategies to evaluate recycling facts and myths, and planning an educational event focused on single-use plastics and plastic bag usage.
Sul Ross Middle School in San Antonio
The culture of reading at Sul Ross Middle School has transformed thanks to Talamantes’ programs and initiatives, notably the Rebel Bucks program that implements a bookstore model where students can purchase books using campus currency earned through positive behavior in the classroom.
Since the I Love My Librarian 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. Information regarding previous award winners can be found at https://www.ilovelibraries.org/lovemylibrarian.