Dr. Mirah J. Dow wins Beta Phi Mu Award

For Immediate Release
Tue, 05/28/2019


Cheryl M Malden

Program Officer


American Library Association



CHICAGO — Dr. Mirah J. Dow, professor and director of the Ph.D. Program at Emporia State University School of Library and Information Management (SLIM), has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the American Library Association's Beta Phi Mu Award. This award is given in recognition of the achievement of a library school faculty member or another individual for distinguished service to education for librarianship. This annual award, which consists of $1,000 and a citation of achievement, is sponsored by the Beta Phi Mu International Library Science Honor Society.

Dow holds a bachelor of science education (Magna Cum Laude, University Scholar), master of library science, and doctor of philosophy, library and information management, all from Emporia State University (ESU). She has served in many different capacities at ESU and in Kansas. Her impact has been strongly felt in advocating for and educating school librarians. Dow is a founding partner of the Kansas Summer Institute for School Librarians. This organization collaborated with the Kansas State Department of Education as well as the Kansas Association of School Librarians to make professional development training more effective for school librarians.  In keeping with her commitment to improving opportunities for school librarians, she served on the American Association of School Librarians Legislative Committee advocating for inclusion of school librarians in the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act from 2007-2011.  Through her work on the AASL committee, she used “...research-based evidence to prove school librarians are much more than an educational luxury.” This conviction has continued to influence her research and writing. As editor of School Libraries Matter: Views from the Research, she demonstrates that library programs staffed by “state-licensed school librarians are necessary educators to teach 21st-century students.” The book provides evidence of the roles and the positive impact that school librarians have on student learning. She applies her research to her work as a Kansas Department of Education licensure program reviewer and she chairs statewide committees for review and revision of Kansas Library/Information and Technology Standards for PreK-12 students. She was honored with the Kansas Association of School Librarians 2014 Vision Award for her dedication to this cause.

In 2015, co-teaching with an ESU professor of earth sciences, Dow created a new certificate for practicing educators and school librarians.  They designed a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum to help classroom teachers and librarians collaborate and design lesson plans which allow students to make real-world connections.  One of her former students wrote a letter of support about how she was able to benefit directly from Dow’s creation of a STEM Literacy certificate program in Emporia State’s School of Library and Information Science department. The instruction in research-based strategies for improving STEM instruction using information literacy competencies and co-teaching practices was invaluable. As a result of this certificate program she was able to improve her practice and present their work to others in the state.

Dow has an outstanding depth of experience and expertise. She has maintained an active teaching load herself, working with students in person and online. She is active in many professional organizations, nationally and locally. Many of them tap on her understanding of the need for school librarians, as well as disability services, especially resources for educators working with people with autism. Her nominator and supporters remark at how generously she gives of herself as a teacher and mentor.

One nominator wrote that she has “…been devoted to librarianship advocating for the common good and enabling all others to enjoy responsibilities and benefits of life in a democratic society.” "Dr. Dow has had an extensive impact on library education, including working with professors from other disciplines to broaden the impact of librarians in education. She has an extensive record of publications and presentations, which have influenced a wide range of librarians and educators. A large number of supporting letters accompanied her nomination, showing the committee the breadth and depth of her impact on so many in the profession. Dr. Dow's work at the school, in the library community, and as a mentor is outstanding.  One nominator wrote that "Her commitment to Beta Phi Mu’s motto, "Aliis inserviendo consumor," meaning “Consumed in the service of others!” is ever present." Our profession has been greatly enhanced thanks to Dow’s strong leadership and the breadth of her research interests.


The 2019 Beta Phi Mu Award Jury is comprised of Emily A. Bergman, Glendale Community College, Glendale, California; Janice L. Flug, retired from American University, Washington, D.C.; Courtney Young, Colgate University, Hamilton, New York; and Annie Zeidman-Karpinski, Jury Chair, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon.

The Beta Phi Mu Award will be presented on Sunday, June 23, 2019, at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.


For more information on the Beta Phi Mu Award, including how to submit a nomination, is available on the ALA website (www.ala.org).