ALA honors Dr. Joan R. Giesecke with the 2011 Equality Award

For Immediate Release
Fri, 03/11/2011

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CHICAGO - Dr. Joan R. Giesecke, dean of Libraries, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is the 2011 recipient of the American Library Association Equality Award. The annual award, $1000 and a framed citation of achievement donated by Scarecrow Press, a member of the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, is given to an individual or group for outstanding contributions toward promoting equality in the library profession.

The numerous letters of support accompanying Giesecke’s nomination emphasized her vision, leadership, energy, research, presentations and mentoring to increase the gender and racial diversity among librarians at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and elsewhere in the profession and the higher education community.

Giesecke has made diversity a priority, as reflected in staff development, training, recruitment and retention strategies. Her commitment to promoting and supporting diversity is evident in the inclusion of diversity in the strategic plan for her library.  

In the words of Beth McNeil, associate dean for Academic Affairs at Purdue, “…during tough economic times, when many libraries cannot do any hiring…her success with minority recruitment and retention is especially laudable.” Diversity among library staff at UNL has increased from 2 percent ten years ago to 12 percent in 2010. Another supporter, Janice Welburn of Marquette University library, commented “She serves as a model for making inclusion work, whether to bring professionals of color into her organization or to advance women into positions of leadership.”

Among her professional activities in support of diversity is her longstanding membership on the ARL Diversity Committee, mentoring individuals in various ARL diversity programs. Her commitment to leadership is reflected in her position as Professor of Practice in the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science PhD in Managerial Leadership.

Ellen Weissinger, senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at UNL, and Giesecke’s boss, commented on her strong role on campus. “We have benefited significantly from her devotion to building a respectful, equitable and diverse campus culture. It is all too common for leaders in higher education to display a shallow understanding of the intrinsic value of diversity, and all too rare to find a person like Joan, who invests her core energies and personal capital in pursuit of a more diverse intellectual community. ”

The award will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans in June.

Members of the 2011 Equality Award jury are Eva M. Davis, Canton Public Library, Mich.; Michael M. Martinez, Reinhardt University, Waleska, Ga.; Jane H. Tuten, University of South Carolina Aiken; and chair, Susan S. DiMattia, DiMattia Associates, Stamford, Conn.

The deadline for submission of nominations for the 2012 Equality Award is December 1, 2011. Guidelines and application forms are available on the ALA website.