2015 Paul Howard Award for Courage recipient named

For Immediate Release
Mon, 03/23/2015


Cheryl Malden

Program Officer




CHICAGO — Nathan Scott of the Strozier Library at Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, is the recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) Paul Howard Award for Courage.  The $1,000 award and citation honors a librarian, library board, library group or an individual who has exhibited unusual courage for the benefit of library programs or services.

Scott is a library assistant for security at FSU's Strozier Library.  He is recognized for his actions on the night of Nov. 20, 2014 for saving the lives of library patrons during an active shooter situation.  Despite being shot in the leg, and at great risk to himself, he managed to run from the front desk in the lobby, past the security barriers and inside the library proper to warn others.  With the door locked, and patrons and staff taking cover, his actions inarguably helped save lives that terrible night.

In the words of Paul Howard himself, courage is “the quality of mind which enables one to face adversity, difficulty, or danger with resolution and fortitude . . . it is that characteristic which enables librarians to seek the achievement of goals in spite of all opposing forces."  Scott has demonstrated just such quality of mind.  The very real danger he faced that night was much more than mere “difficulty,” and the resolution and fortitude that made service to others a priority show him to be a person of character and courage.  His goal, as a library assistant for security, was to protect library patrons, and his quick action did just that.

In the words of nominator Karin Wikoff, "we can think of no other library worker, with or without the degree, full-time or part-time, in whatever capacity, who has exhibited more unusual courage in service to a library, nor anyone who more deserves to be recognized for his service."

Members of the 2015 Paul Howard Award for Courage jury committee are: Laurel Bliss, chair, San Diego State University Library, San Diego; Alanna Aiko Moore, University of California, San Diego Library, San Diego; Robert Newlen, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.;  Jasmine Posey, Greenwich Library, Greenwich, Connecticut; and Ann K. Symons, Douglas, Alaska.

The 2015 Paul Howard Award will be presented in June at the ALA Annual conference in San Francisco.  Learn more about the Paul Howard Award for Courage including how to apply on the ALA website.