2020 ACRL Award Recipients

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2020 awards. Made possible by generous corporate support, the annual presentation of ACRL’s awards and grants enables ACRL to honor the very best in academic and research librarianship.

Academic/Research Librarian of the Year

Sponsored by GOBI Library Solutions from EBSCO

Photo of John E. Ulmschneider

John E. Ulmschneider, Dean of Libraries and University Librarian at Virginia Commonwealth University

“John E. Ulmschneider’s extraordinary achievements as dean of libraries and university librarian at the Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries led the committee to name him as 2020 Academic/Research Librarian of the Year. As dean, Ulmschneider successfully advocated for increased financial support; doubled professional staffing; championed diversity, equity, and inclusion; strengthened state and regional partnerships; and created a culture of innovation at the VCU Libraries. The words of one nominator describing John’s leadership role in a regional endeavor perfectly describe his selfless approach to his accomplishments – ‘he has done so with a grin rather than a gavel, leading without ego, and with the evident trust and admiration of his colleagues.’” - Jeannette E. Pierce, ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award Committee Chair.

Read the full announcement!

Excellence in Academic Libraries Awards

Sponsored by GOBI Library Solutions from EBSCO

Photo of Nevada State College Marydean Martin Library

Nevada State College
Henderson, NV

“The culture of the Marydean Martin Library and the commitment of library leadership to providing space and opportunities for their staff to engage in team building, along with their attention to the morale of their librarians, staff, and student employees, empowers library staff to own and contribute to the campus mission." - Cheryl A. Middleton, Excellence in Academic Libraries Award Committee Chair.

Application available here.

Photo of Santa Rosa Junior College Library

Community College
Santa Rosa Junior College
Santa Rosa, CA

“Santa Rosa Junior College Libraries presented a compelling story of learning services and programs that serve the faculty, staff, and students of their institution,” noted Middleton. “The libraries have redesigned their spaces and services based on extensive student input, which has received an overwhelmingly positive response from students." - Cheryl A. Middleton, Excellence in Academic Libraries Award Committee Chair.

Application available here.

Photo of University of Maryland Library

University of Maryland
College Park, MD

“The University of Maryland Libraries stand out amongst their peers for the development of a robust library staff culture of innovation, as well as their extensive collaborations and engagement with the university’s core curriculum, students, and faculty. The influence and impact of the libraries’ partnerships can be seen throughout the institution.” - Cheryl A. Middleton, Excellence in Academic Libraries Award Committee Chair.

Application available here.

Read the full announcement!


Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award

Sponsored by ACRL, ALCTS, LITA, and LLAMA

Photo of three recipients of the Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award

Beth Denker, George Machovec, and Rose Nelson
Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries

“Together, Denker, Machovec, and Nelson exemplify the spirit of the Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award through their outstanding contributions toward the improvement of library services. Their collaborative and innovative work in library automation has had a broad impact on the library profession beyond the Rocky Mountain region, particularly in the development of Gold Rush, a collection assessment and electronic resource management system used by libraries nationally and internationally.” - Holly Tomren, Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award Committee Chair

Read the full announcement!

Section Awards

Photo of Jean Amaral

CJCLS EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Leadership Award

Sponsored by EBSCO Information Services

Jean Amaral, Associate Professor and Open Knowledge Librarian, Borough of Manhattan Community College

"Jean's leadership at CUNY's Borough of Manhattan Community College is so clearly student-focused and produces significant results. We are sure the reduced textbook costs associated with the OER program Jean leads, amounting to over $6 million in savings so far, are just the tip of the iceberg, as OER and open pedagogy have many other benefits for both students and faculty." - CJCLS Awards Committee

Photo of Librarians from Colorado Community College System

CJCLS EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Program Award

Sponsored by EBSCO Information Services

Colorado Community College System, for their program "Colorado's Top 40: Curating OER Content for the Top 40 GT Pathway Courses."

"The CCCS OER project has already converted the top 40 Guaranteed Transfer Pathways General Education Curriculum classes to Open Education Resources materials. In a few months, all of the materials will be posted online for anyone at any college to use an adapt for their own courses. The committee felt that the impact of this project will be felt well beyond Colorado in the upcoming months and can benefit students, faculty, and librarians nationwide." - CJCLS Awards Committee

Photo of Alexandria Chisholm, Sarah Hartman-Caverly, and Brett Spencer

CLS Innovation in College Librarianship Award

Sponsored by SCELC

Brett Spencer, Sarah Hartman-Caverly, and Alexandria Chisholm, all reference and instruction librarians at Penn State University, Berks Campus

"The committee was very impressed with the student-centered approach of the Discovery Lab, and felt their project showed a lot of creativity and original thought. The project was a great example of the ways in which library staff can support undergraduate research and scholarship, and beyond into a person’s career." - CLS Awards Committee

Photo of Samantha (Sam) Harlow

DLS Routledge Distance Learning Librarianship Conference Sponsorship Award

Sponsored by Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group

Samantha (Sam) Harlow, online learning librarian at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro

"Sam Harlow has a record of excellent contributions in the field of distance librarianship. Sam is a prolific scholar with numerous conference presentations, peer-reviewed journals articles, book chapters, conference proceedings, magazine articles, and book reviews. Sam’s dedicated work and leadership has been tremendously impactful at her home institution and for distance librarianship as a profession." - DLS Awards Committee

Photo of Cassandra Kvenild

EBSS Distinguished Education and Behavioral Sciences Librarian Award

Sponsored by the American Psychological Association

Cassandra Kvenild, Associate Dean of Libraries, University of Wyoming

"Over the past two decades, Cassandra Kvenild has demonstrated exemplary commitment and excellence in education and behavioral science librarianship at the local, state, and national levels. Her scholarship has impacted various areas of librarianship, including distance education, instruction, assessment, and cataloging." - EBSS Awards Committee

Photo of Emma Popowich

ESS De Gruyter European Librarianship Study Grant

Sponsored by the Walter de Gruyter Foundation for Scholarship and Research

Emma Popowich, Acting Head of the Elizabeth Dafoe Library and Romance Languages Librarian, University of Manitoba, for her project "A Conscience of Cloth: Blue Textiles in the Identity of the Midi"

"This project offers a unique take on regional identity as viewed through the history of textile production. Her project will result in a research paper as well as a Digital Humanities piece." - ESS Grant Committee

Photo of Amanda L. Folk

IS Ilene F. Rockman Instruction Publication of the Year Award

Sponsored by Carrick Enterprises

Amanda L. Folk, for her article "Reframing Information Literacy as Academic Cultural Capital: A Critical and Equity-Based Foundation for Practice, Assessment, and Scholarship"

"Highlighting an important need in our field for scholarship that explores the relationship between information literacy and racial and social-class achievement gaps in higher education, Folk pushes for academic librarianship to delve deeper into issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Folk describes an equity lens through which information literacy is viewed as a form of academic cultural capital, but also goes beyond theorizing to offer specific pedagogic strategies librarians may use to build capital among students with identities that have been traditionally marginalized in higher education." - IS Ilene F. Rockman Award Committee

Photo of Kathy Anders, Sarah LeMire, and Terri Pantuso

IS Innovation Award

Sponsored by EBSCO Information Services

Sarah LeMire, Coordinator of First Year Programs, Terri Pantuso, Coordinator of Freshman Composition, and Kathy Anders, Graduate Studies Librarian, all of Texas A&M University, for their project OER Textbook for Composition and Information Literacy

"There has been increased implementation of OERs across higher education and this project capitalizes on that growth by working with course faculty. The project demonstrates a sustainable and adaptable solution to major issues not only in teaching information literacy but also to reducing the cost of student textbooks. The selection committee was excited to see how the work done by the librarians on the OER could be reused and adapted to fit the needs of librarians from different institutions." - IS Innovation Award Committee

Photo of Veronica Arellano Douglas

IS Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award

Sponsored by the ACRL Instruction Section

Veronica Arellano Douglas, Instruction Coordinator, University of Houston

"Veronica’s willingness to engage in critical reflection and ask challenging questions about our profession advances how we think about teaching and learning and the work that we do as instruction librarians. Her impact is evident through her scholarship, but also in how she engages within the library instruction community, working through her ideas on social media and thinking out loud publicly for the benefit of others. Her commitment to mentorship and service and her impact on the profession were well-documented by her nominators." - IS Miriam Dudley Award Committee

Photo of Jeremy Darrington

PPIRS Marta Lange/SAGE-CQ Press Award

Sponsored by SAGE-CQ Press

Jeremy Darrington, Politics Librarian, Princeton University

"In addition to serving as the Chair of PPIRS/LPSS, Jeremy has been actively involved in other PPIRS committees and has expanded his role by serving on advisory boards for publishers and vendors. Jeremy has also provided numerous trainings, presentations, and webinars related to topics of interest for librarians in international relations, law, and political science." - Marta Lange Award Committee

RBMS Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab Exhibition Catalogue Awards

Sponsored by Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab American Book Prices Current

Photo of cover for "Nineteen Nineteen"

Category 1 (Expensive) Recipient

Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens for Nineteen Nineteen

"This beautifully-designed catalog is an innovative, fresh take on the "anniversary celebration" model, setting a new standard for this kind of exhibition and catalog. This catalog celebrates a distinctively wide range of material, weaving narratives about the library's founders with broader sociopolitical events in surprising and compelling ways. The quality of the publication is high and the interpretation is remarkably interrogative and thoughtful." - Leab Awards Committee

Photo of cover for "The Grolier Club for “A Matter of Size: Miniature Bindings & Texts from the Collection of Patricia J. Pistner"

Category 1 Honorable Mention

The Grolier Club for A Matter of Size: Miniature Bindings & Texts from the Collection of Patricia J. Pistner

"The breadth of the collection within the stricture of the miniature book highlights objects from around the globe both beautifully and comprehensively. The quality of the item descriptions in particular argues that bibliographical description can be a form of scholarship in its own right, an aspect of the catalogue that the committee finds particularly commendable." - Leab Awards Committee

Image of cover for "Wise Men Fished Here: A Centennial Exhibition in Honor of the Gotham Book Mart, 1920-2020"

Category 2 (Moderately Expensive) Recipient

The University of Pennsylvania Libraries Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts for Wise Men Fished Here: A Centennial Exhibition in Honor of the Gotham Book Mart, 1920-2020

"The creative and dynamic design coupled with the comprehensive content of this catalog contribute to the stand-out character of Wise Men Fished Here. The committee was pleased that the catalog featured conversation regarding not only the collection and its history, but also the process of cataloging, describing and exhibiting the material. The under-told story of the woman bookseller at the center of the exhibition, and her influence on the arc of modernism, has both high scholarly value and broad appeal to a general public." - Leab Awards Committee

Photo of cover for "The Stars Are Ours: Infinite Diversities in Science Fiction & Fantasy"

Category 2 Honorable Mention

Texas A&M University Libraries Cushing Memorial Library & Archives for The Stars Are Ours: Infinite Diversities in Science Fiction & Fantasy

"The diversity and breadth of work featured in this exhibit deserves praise for illustrating the inclusivity of the science fiction genre. The genre's diversity is presented in an organic and fluid manner, and no contributor or contribution is othered. Patrons interested in this topic will gain a deeper understanding of the genre and be introduced to a wealth of new titles, authors and topics to explore on their own." - Leab Awards Committee

Image of cover for "Bibliomania; or Book Madness: A Bibliographical Romance"

Category 2 Honorable Mention

Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library for Bibliomania; or Book Madness: A Bibliographical Romance

"This beautifully-designed and well-written submission is an exceptional take on a familiar topic. It features notable clarity of text and description. By literalizing and expanding on Dibdin’s Bibliomania, this collection of pamphlets feels both introspective, retrospective, and forward-looking at the same time. Instructive and visually appealing, the committee agrees that this catalog is a success on multiple levels." - Leab Awards Committee

Image of cover for "Encountering the Rare Book"

Category 3 (Inexpensive) Co-Recipient

Oakland University Art Gallery for Encountering the Rare Book

"The committee particularly appreciated how this text brought in voices beyond the humanities to reflect on the impact of rare books in scholarship. Giving students, early career academics and STEM scholars the opportunity to reflect on their early encounters freshens a familiar topic and empowers non-experts to give their own perspectives on rare materials. The text also skillfully conveys a great deal of wide-ranging information in a small space. Overall, Encountering the Rare Book offers engaging design with informative illustrations." - Leab Awards Committee

Photo of cover for "Spaces of Wonder, Wonder of Space: Encountering the Eighteenth Century in Image, Object, and Text"

Category 3 Co-Recipient

The University of Guelph School of Fine Art and Music and the Archives and Special Collections, McLaughlin Library for Spaces of Wonder, Wonder of Space: Encountering the Eighteenth Century in Image, Object, and Text

"The content and conceit of this publication is commendable. The central thesis concatenating the objects was compelling and original, offering a discussion not just of objects but also how they are perceived. The committee appreciated the collaborative approach to this topic, which gave space to a wide range of voices and approaches from students to faculty. " - Leab Awards Committee

Image of brochure for "Fishing with Flies"

Category 4 (Brochures) Recipient

The University of Alberta Bruce Peel Special Collections for Fishing with Flies

"This playful and well-designed brochure finds delight in an unfamiliar and potentially esoteric topic. Despite the compact format, the brochure stuns with high-quality images on translucent paper. It is both delicate and substantive." - Leab Awards Committee

Image of cover for "Making Mr. Darcy: Cultural Context for the Regency Gentleman"

Category 4 Honorable Mention

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Rare Book & Manuscript Library for Making Mr. Darcy: Cultural Context for the Regency Gentleman

"The innovative layout and deeply engaging content of this brochure is particularly commendable for such a short format. The topic addresses an under-discussed set of influences that affected and were affected by Austen's work, adding context to a well-known novel. The brochure makes a persuasive argument to visit the exhibition, offering an appealing promise for what the patron will learn and experience in person." - Leab Awards Committee

Image of exhibit promo for "Independence in the Air: African Aviation in the 1960s"

Category 5 (Electronic) Recipient

Northwestern University Transportation Library for Independence in the Air: African Aviation in the 1960s

"This website's straightforward and easily-navigable design complements the thorough and thoughtful scholarship. The show itself is engaging, and is enhanced by the digital apparatus. The committee particularly likes that the objects in the exhibition are linked to the library finding aid portal and catalog, easily allowing for further interrogation by patrons. The use of a sans-serif font also makes the site accessible for all kinds of viewers. Overall, the user experience of navigating the website is frictionless and this show is inviting on many levels." - Leab Awards Committee

Photo of Mary Anne Hansen

ULS Outstanding Professional Development Award

Sponsored by Library Juice Academy

Mary Anne Hansen, Research Services Librarian at Montana State University / Tribal College Librarians Institute Coordinator

"For the past 22 years, Mary Anne Hansen has demonstrated a commitment to excellence in professional development by coordinating the Tribal College Librarians Institute (TCLI), an annual week-long program providing professional development for librarians in the US, Canada, and New Zealand who serve the needs of Indigenous college students in tribal communities. Hansen has fostered a community of learning, empowering past institute participants to contribute programming to future institutes and building a community for ongoing learning and leadership post-institute." - ULS Awards Committee

Photo of John E. Ulmschneider

WGSS Award for Career Achievement

Sponsored by Duke University Press

Emily Drabinski, Critical Pedagogy Librarian, Graduate Center, City University of New York

"Emily Drabinski was selected for the Women & Gender Studies Section Career Achievement Award in Women & Gender Studies Librarianship because of her extensive work in publications, critical literacy instruction, and service to WGSS, as well as her mentoring of other librarians." - WGSS Awards Committee

Photo of John E. Ulmschneider

WGSS Award for Significant Achievement

Sponsored by Duke University Press

Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz, Associate Dean of Teaching, Learning, and Engagement, New York University

"Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz was selected for the Women & Gender Studies Section Award for Significant Achievement in Women & Gender Studies Librarianship because of her outstanding work with the Lesbian Herstory Archives to collect and preserve materials from the group Salsa Soul Sisters. Her work as an archivist and exhibit coordinator for this group made significant contributions to the preservation and promotion of the histories of queer women of color. " - WGSS Awards Committee