Dr. Em Claire Knowles Equality Award winner

For Immediate Release
Fri, 06/05/2020


Cheryl Malden

Program Officer


American Library Association



CHICAGO — Dr. Em Claire Knowles, assistant dean for academic affairs, College of Organizational, Computational, and Information Sciences, Simmons University,  has been named the 2020 winner of the American Library Association Equality Award for her lifetime of work on issues surrounding Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in the library community. 

Knowles served as the first African American member at the School of Library and Information Science at Simmons University.  From her beginnings in this position she has served as a role model and mentor for students, faculty and alumni inside and outside the Library and information Science community.  Her sponsorship of a series of Diversity Summits involved the larger LIS community and has helped to define the LIS diversity goals at Simmons University.  She has been instrumental in developing EDI initiatives, including support for ALA Spectrum Initiative and for the School of Library and Information Science and played a key role in establishing an Anti-racism Study Group that provided training and programs throughout the community.

Knowles’ personal legacy of service to the domestic and international library community includes her research, articles, presented papers and programs in the areas of Equiry, Diversity and Inclusion.  She has also been a leader of several national and international organizations, including the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), the Massachusetts Black Librarians Network (MBLN), the California Black Librarians Caucus, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institution’s (IFLA) Women in Libraries (WILL) and the American Library Association, where she serves as a councilor-at-Large and a past member of the ALA Executive Board. ,  

The ALA Equality Award, consisting of $1,000 and a citation of achievement, will be presented Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, during the Midwinter Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

Members of the 2019-2020 ALA Equality Award committee are: Chair, John Sandstrom, New Mexico State University; Eve Davis, Canton Public Library, Ohio; Tracey Drake, Reed College, Oregon; Jordan Valentine, Westerville Public Library, Ohio; and Xiaocan Wang, Bridgewater State University, Massachusetts. 

More information about the ALA Equality Award, including how to submit a nomination, is available on the ALA website (www.ala.org).