Turock and Reed named ALA honorary members

For Immediate Release
Tue, 03/06/2012

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CHICAGO – Dr. Betty J. Turock and Senator Jack Reed were elected to honorary membership in the American Library Association (ALA) in action taken by the ALA Council at the ALA 2012 Midwinter Meeting, held Jan. 20 to 24 in Dallas. Honorary membership, ALA's highest honor, is conferred in recognition of outstanding contributions of lasting importance to libraries and librarianship.

Dr. Betty J. Turock, professor and dean emeritus at Rutgers University, was nominated in recognition of her outstanding commitment and achievement in the field of library and information science, as a practitioner, educator, advocate and philanthropist.  Her efforts have increased the emphasis of ALA and the field on diversity, innovation, leadership and access for all.

During her term as ALA President (1994-95), Turock focused attention on the Digital Divide and the library as the publicly funded point of equalization that makes equity on the electronic information highway possible for all people of our nation,  She developed the Spectrum Scholarship Program in partnership with then ALA Executive Director Elizabeth Martinez. The initiative was conceived to recruit members of underrepresented emerging majority populations to programs of library and information science and fund their graduate education.  To date, the Spectrum Scholarship Program has educated more than 700 diverse students as library and information science professionals.

Turock is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the ALA Jesse Shera Award for Outstanding Research (1989), the 1994 Distinguished Alumna Award from Rutgers University, the 1995 New Jersey Library Leadership Award, the 1997 Rutgers Presidential Award for Distinguished Public Service and the 1998 ALA Equality Award.  In 2000 she was honored by the ALA as one of the Extraordinary Library Advocates of the Twentieth Century and at the 2006 ALA annual conference she received the Lippincott Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Association for distinguished service to the profession.  In 2011, she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Rutgers University’s Graduate School.

Turock is the author of more than 95 publications and reports and was the founding editor of the award-winning Bottom Line: A Financial Magazine for Libraries.  She is a member of the board of advisors and the dean’s council at Johns Hopkins Medical School and Johns Hopkins Hospital; the National Library Council, Johns Hopkins Undergraduate University; and the boards of the American Library in Paris, France; Keystone College, LaPlume, Pa.; and the Trejo Foster Foundation, Tuscon, Ariz.

Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) was nominated for his continuing, unwavering and effective support of libraries in the U.S. Congress.

Throughout his career, Reed has supported education and libraries, statewide and nationally.  He sponsored every major piece of library legislation when he was a Rhode Island member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1990-1996) and as a U.S. Senator for the past 14 years. 

To help more children learn to read and ensue they gain critical career and college readiness skills, Reed’s Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program (2001) has provided more than $100 million for school libraries to purchase books and computers, train librarians and remain open longer to provide more students with access to educational opportunities.

In an effort to strengthen museum and library services across the nation, Reed was the driving force for the last two re-authorizations of the Museum and Library Services Act of 2010.  This law, which had strong bipartisan support in Congress, authorizes nearly $300 million in federal assistance to museums and libraries nationwide.  The bill helps provide funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a vital agency that helps museums and libraries of all sizes and types meet the needs of their communities.  The Museum and Library Services Act also includes the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) which provides for the distribution of funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to states for the purposes of increasing the use of technology in libraries, fostering better resource sharing among libraries, and targeting library services to special populations.

In July 2011, Reed continued to champion school libraries by introducing the Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLs) Act which will ensure that more students have access to effective school library programs that will help them compete in today’s information age.

Reed was also instrumental in the passage of a bill to authorize the cancelation of Perkins Loans for students who perform public service as librarians in low-income schools and public libraries.  He also worked diligently to convince the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to amend its policies to recognize libraries as essential community organizations, thus entitled to reimbursement for temporary relocation facilities.

Reed will be presented with an honorary membership plaque during a ceremony to take place during National Library Legislative Day on April 23 in Washington, D.C.  Turock will receive her honorary membership plaque in June 2012 during the Opening General Session of the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif.