For immediate release | April 14, 2022

Dr. Kenneth A. Yamashita receives the 2022 Joseph W. Lippincott Award

CHICAGO — Dr. Kenneth A. Yamashita is the recipient of the 2022 Joseph W. Lippincott Award. This award is sponsored by Joseph W. Lippincott III and presented by the American Library Association (ALA) for distinguished service in the profession of librarianship.

The Jury for the 2022 Joseph W. Lippincott Award is delighted to honor Yamashita for his many accomplishments over decades of librarianship in commitment to diversity, mentoring colleagues about equity and inclusion, his dedication to the profession, and legacy that reflects well on his career.

Yamashita entered the profession in the early 1970s when many seasoned librarians were retiring, and the recruitment and retention of new librarians was a national priority. At the same time, activists in the African American civil rights and women’s equality movements were clamoring for changes in society, libraries, ALA, and the library profession.

Among the achievements specifically noted by the Lippincott Jury and many colleagues who wrote in support of this award are:

He is deeply committed to diversity of all types and brought significant organizational skills and creativity to important work. He became an ally in the struggle for services to communities of color during a period when very few librarians of color were active on a national basis. His lengthy career has reflected his passion for confronting injustice and promoting library services to non-traditional communities.

Working with Jean Coleman, he provided support on issues that emerged from the Office of Library Outreach Services (OLOS) in the 1980s and later was a spirited voice of the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), a pan-Asian American and Pacific Islander library advocacy organization incorporated in 1981 and affiliated with ALA since 1982. Yamashita served as the national APALA President, 1996-1997. He has also taken many leadership roles within ALA, including but not limited to Committee work with the Spectrum Initiative, 1997- 2012 and OLOS 1982 - 97; serving on ALA Council, 1995 - 2006; and involvement with the Public Library Association. In addition, he was an active member of the California Library Association. These experiences made him a go-to person for insight into ALA culture, procedures, and policy for generations of newbie librarians of color.

Numerous colleagues wrote in support of his selection for this high honor, overwhelmingly describing him as someone who “has shown a high level of personal generosity and kindness along with unquestioned strength and persistence. He has been firm in his criticisms, whenever and by whomever warranted, but has also been consistently willing to find yet another bridge, another way forward together.”

“His persevering and effective leadership in APALA and the Joint Council of Librarians of Color brought energy and an in-depth understanding to the issues these librarians face.” He “values equity, diversity and inclusion and he has made a profound difference in our lives and the way we approach our values - this reflects his deep commitment to librarianship and the core values for which we stand.” These qualities and accomplishments were compelling factors for the Award Jury’s selection of Dr. Kenneth A. Yamashita for the 2022 Joseph W. Lippincott Award.

The annual award, consisting of $1,500 and a citation of achievement, will be presented on Sunday, June 26, 2022 at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington DC

Members of the Joseph W. Lippincott Award Jury are Chair, Dora Ho, retired Young Adult Librarian, Los Angeles Public Library; U. Chinedu Amaefula, Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County; Emily A. Bergman, Campus Librarian, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology; Eva M. Davis, Director, Canton (Michigan) Public Library; and Suzie Muniak, Assistant Director of Medina County District (Ohio) Library.


Cheryl Malden

Program Officer

American Library Association