Lance Werner wins ALA’s Ernest A. DiMattia Award for Innovation and Service to Community and Profession
For Immediate Release
American Library Association
CHICAGO — Lance Werner, Executive Director of Kent District Library (KDL) MI, has been named the 2023 winner of ALA’s Ernest A. DiMattia Award for Innovation and Service to Community and Profession. The award, supported by the DiMattia Family, recognizes a librarian who demonstrates leadership in anticipating emerging trends in services, products and technologies that will enhance the library’s position in its community. The winner also participates in the life of the community using membership in and volunteer service through a broad range of community organizations and projects.
Werner is being honored in part for his leadership in developing a new service model for KDL employees emphasizing kindness and innovation called “The KDL Way.” Deborah E. Mikula, who nominated Werner, remarked that his advocacy with local and state lawmakers has not only benefited KDL, but the whole state of Michigan such as the passage of the 2017 Tax Capture Relief Bill that put upwards of 10 million dollars back into library budgets across the state. He is a leader in safeguarding intellectual freedom, resisting efforts to censor library collections, and is helping librarians across the state organize grassroots advocacy work and learn relationship-building skills to protect library funding and build community. For the second year in a row, Werner has been named on the Grand Rapids 200 list of the 200 most powerful and influential people in West Michigan. He uses his leadership to serve all residents and transform libraries into community hubs.
“Furthering all people and protecting intellectual freedom cannot be done by anyone or any library alone,” says Werner. “Only by identifying common threads and building advocacy from all perspectives will we accomplish our mission. This is the core of this award and I’m honored and further inspired to be recognized.”
Kent District Library consists of 20 branch locations, a central service center and a bookmobile serving nearly 440,000 people in Kent County, Michigan.
The annual award, consisting of $5,000 and a citation of achievement, will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference in June 2023.
Members of the ALA Ernest A. DiMattia Award for Innovation and Service to Community and Profession Award Committee are: Chair Marcus Lowry, Library Manager, Ramsey County Library, Mounds View, MN; Dana Casper, Graduate Studies Librarian, Middle Georgia State University, Macon, GA; Pam Jankowski, Chief Public Services Officer, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma, OH; Jihye Lee, Electronic Resource Cataloging Librarian, Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; John Sandstrom, Head of Acquisitions, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM. More information about the Ernest A. DiMattia Award for Innovation and Service to Community and Profession including how to submit a nomination is available at the ALA website (www.ala.org).