Res­i­dents can vote for fa­vorite li­brar­ian for na­tional award

Maryland Independent - - News - By TIF­FANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @Tif­fIndyNews

The next win­ner of the na­tional “I Love My Li­brar­ian” award could be from Charles County. The Charles County Pub­lic Li­brary Sys­tem is ac­cept­ing res­i­dents’ nom­i­na­tions for their fa­vorite li­brar­ian through Sept. 19.

The “I Love My Li­brar­ian” award was es­tab­lished to show ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the con­tri­bu­tions of out­stand­ing li­brar­i­ans and rec­og­nize their ac­com­plish­ments. The com­mu­nity can now go on­line and vote for one of four li­brar­i­ans nom­i­nated in Charles County: Alyssa Wil­liams, Melissa Lauber, Don­tanà McPher­son-Joseph and Bar­bara Thorp.

Janet Salazar, di­rec­tor of the li­brary sys­tem, said li­brar­i­ans are valu­able com­mu­nity re­sources that con­nect peo­ple to the in­for­ma­tion, op­por­tu­ni­ties and crit­i­cal tech­nol­ogy nec­es­sary to help im­prove their qual­ity of life. She also be­lieves that the county has some re­ally great li­brar­i­ans and hopes at least one of them ends up as one of the top 10 na­tional win­ners of the con­test.

“Each li­brar­ian is dif­fer­ent in their own way,” Salazar said. “I’m very happy that Bar­bara has just joined us in the last cou­ple of months to work with the chil­dren and she has done some awe­some things. Don­tanà has done a lot of work with the LGBTQ com­mu­nity and bring­ing that to the fore­front of the com­mu­nity. Melissa is also a great as­set. Alyssa has been great to work with and I could not do my job with­out her.”

Ev­ery year, up to 10 li­brar­i­ans are rec­og­nized na­tion­ally with each re­ceiv­ing a $5,000 cash award, a plaque and a travel stipend to at­tend the awards cer­e­mony and re­cep­tion in New York City, hosted by Carnegie Cor­po­ra­tion of New York. Since the award’s in­cep­tion in 2008, pa­trons across the U.S. have shared nearly 16,000 nom­i­na­tions for their fa­vorite li­brar­i­ans. A to­tal of 80 li­brar­i­ans have won the award to date.

Each nom­i­nee must be a li­brar­ian with a master’s de­gree from a pro­gram ac­cred­ited by the Amer­i­can Li­brary As­so­ci­a­tion in li­brary and in­for­ma­tion stud­ies or a master’s de­gree with a spe­cialty in school li­brary me­dia from an ed­u­ca­tional unit ac­cred­ited by the Na­tional Coun­cil for the Ac­cred­i­ta­tion of Teacher Ed­u­ca­tion. Nom­i­nees must be cur­rently work­ing in the U.S. in a pub­lic li­brary, a li­brary at an ac­cred­ited two- or four-year col­lege or univer­sity or at an ac­cred­ited K-12 school.

Wil­liams, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of Charles County Pub­lic Li­brary Sys­tem, said the con­test is rais­ing aware­ness of the im­por­tance of ac­ces­si­ble com­mu­nity re­sources.

“Al­though I’m more behind-the-scenes, I work hard to make sure the li­brary is work­ing and pro­vide the ac­cess to our staff that the com­mu­nity can take advantage of,” Wil­liams said. “This con­test rec­og­nizes the won­der­ful work that is be­ing done in our com­mu­nity and rec­og­nizes all of the peo­ple who live and work in Charles County.”

“I have been a li­brar­ian for 15 years and I am driven to unite peo­ple with the re­sources they need to suc­ceed — whether it’s for em­ploy­ment, school, hobby or best seller nov­els,” said Lauber, Wal­dorf West Li­brary pub­lic ser­vices li­brar­ian. “It’s a treat to have all of this in­for­ma­tion at hand. It shows that we are im­por­tant and li­brar­i­ans are out there chang­ing peo­ple’s lives.”

“This con­test is very di­verse and shows the coun­try that not all li­brar­i­ans wear buns, are women or have tat­toos,” said McPher­son-Joseph, Wal­dorf West Li­brary pub­lic ser­vices li­brar­ian. “Charles County res­i­dents should vote to rep­re­sent home­town pride and brag on this great group of di­verse li­brar­i­ans.”

Thorp, P.D. Brown Memo­rial Li­brary chil­dren’s su­per­vi­sor, said she loves her cus­tomers and said if they feel the same way about her, she hopes they will go on­line and cast their vote.

“I’ve worked re­ally hard as a li­brar­ian for the last decade so I wanted to nom­i­nate my­self,” Thorp said. “It would be nice to have a lit­tle recog­ni­tion ev­ery now and then for us li­brar­i­ans.”

The award is a col­lab­o­ra­tive pro­gram of Carnegie Cor­po­ra­tion of New York, the New York Pub­lic Li­brary, The New York Times news­pa­per and the Amer­i­can Li­brar y As­so­ci­a­tion. The ALA ad­min­is­ters the award through their pub­lic aware­ness of­fice, which pro­motes the value of li­braries and staff.

“We want our com­mu­nity to vote for one of the four li­brar­ian can­di­dates so that oth­ers can see on a na­tional level the great things our county’s li­brar­i­ans are do­ing,” Salazar said.

Nom­i­na­tions are ac­cepted through Sept. 19 with win­ners an­nounced in Novem­ber. To vote for a fa­vorite Charles County li­brar­ian, go to www.iloveli­braries.org/love­myli­brar­ian.

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