For immediate release | December 20, 2011

View 2011 I Love My Librarian Award ceremony, interviews with award winners

CHICAGO - A video of the 2011 Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award ceremony has been posted on You can view remarks made by keynote speaker Caroline Kennedy and Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Also, video interviews with the 10 award winners have been posted. The ceremony, attended by 300 people, was hosted by The New York Times at The TimesCenter.

The event, which was part of the Carnegie Corporation’s Centennial Celebration, honored 10 librarians. Nominations were open to librarians working in public, school, college, community college and university libraries. Each winner received a $5,000 cash award. More than 1,700 library patrons in fifty states nominated a librarian. The American Library Association’s Campaign for America’s Libraries administers the Award program.

Molly Raphael, president, ALA, said, “It was a wonderful event, a true celebration of the best of our profession. Janet Robinson (CEO of The New York Times Company), Vartan Gregorian (President of the Carnegie Corporation) and special guest Caroline Kennedy all spoke in very moving and inspiring ways about librarians and libraries.”

The 10 award recipients are:

Venetia V. Demson

DC Public Library, Adaptive Services Division

Washington, D.C.

Martha Ferriby

Hackley Public Library

Muskegon, Mich.

Jennifer O. Keohane

The Simsbury Public Library

Simsbury, Conn.

Dr. Rhonda Allison Rios Kravitz

Sacramento City College

Sacramento, Calif.

Jennifer U. LaGarde

Myrtle Grove Middle School

Wilmington, N. C.

Elizabeth “Betsy” Long

Doby's Mill Elementary School Media Center

Lugoff, S. C.

Michelle Luhtala

New Canaan High School Library

New Canaan, Conn.

Saundra Ross-Forrest

North Avondale Branch Library (Birmingham Public Library System)

Birmingham, Ala.

Rebecca Traub

Temple University Harrisburg

Harrisburg, Pa.

Barbara K. Weaver

Ivy Tech Community College Northwest

Gary, Ind.

“This award really recognizes people for the wonderful work they do,” said winner Rhonda Rios Kravitz of Sacramento City College in Sacramento, Calif.

“I’m really excited, because it makes me feel appreciated and needed by the people in my community,” said winner Saundra Ross-Forrest of the North Avondale Branch Library of the Birmingham (Ala.) Public Library System. “It’s just wonderful.”

Many winners expressed thanks for being recognized by the people they serve daily. Winner Jennifer U. LaGarde of Myrtle Grove Middle School in Wilmington, N.C. said, “This award, even if I wasn’t the one chosen, shows that libraries, librarians and most importantly, our patrons, are worth fighting for.”

For winner Jennifer O. Keohane of The Simsbury (Conn.) Public Library, the award serves as a call to action, “It makes you want to raise the bar even higher. It’s pretty hard to… not want to do even more,” she said.

Members of the 2011-2012 I Love My Librarian Award Committee are: Roberta A. Stevens, past president, American Library Association, (2011 - 2012 Committee Chair); Dr. Rookaya Bawa, program officer, Carnegie Corporation of New York; Dr. Nancy Everhart, past president, American Association of School Librarians; Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, past president, Association of College and Research Libraries; Diane McNulty, executive director, Community Affairs and Media Relations, The New York Times; Marcia A. Warner, president, Public Library Association.

Carnegie Corporation of New York is a philanthropic foundation created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to do “real and permanent good in this world.”

The New York Times Company, a leading media company with 2010 revenues of $2.4 billion, includes The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, The Boston Globe, 15 other daily newspapers and more than 50 websites, including,, and The Company’s core purpose is to enhance society by creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news, information and entertainment.

The Campaign for America’s Libraries ( is ALA’s public awareness campaign that promotes the value of libraries and librarians. Thousands of libraries of all types – across the country and around the globe - use the Campaign’s @ your library® brand. The Campaign is made possible by ALA’s Library Champions, corporations and foundations.