2003 Paul Howard Award For Courage recipient named

Contact: Cheryl Malden



For Immediate Release

April 28, 2003

2003 Paul Howard Award For Courage recipient named

Elisa Murillo, literacy student and tutor, and library volunteer spokesperson at the Mesa County Public Library District, is the 2003 recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) Paul Howard Award for Courage.

The $1,000 bi-annual award and citation honors a librarian, library board, library group or an individual who has exhibited unusual courage for the benefit of library programs or services.

A Mexican immigrant, Murillo could not read, write or speak English well.
In 2001 she began studying with the Mesa County Public Library District’s Adult Reading Program.
Three of the goals she set for herself were to pass her citizenship test, become a U.S. citizen and get a job.
Elisa accomplished all three goals in 2002.

Murillo and her husband brought their children to the Children and Adults Together intergenerational literacy program for “Family Nights at the Library,” and “Read With Your Child” workshops.
These programs inspired Murillo to advocate and volunteer for literacy and the library.
Murillo is now a translator and tutor, she helps beginning foreign language students learn the basics of spoken English.

“Elisa Murillo affirms the
public library vision of being a life-enhancing institution of people serving people through her courage as an immigrant to admit a literacy need; for seeking and using public library programs and services to meet that need; for giving back to the library as a volunteer literacy tutor; and for speaking publicly on behalf of literacy programs and libraries,” said chair Victor Lynn Schill.

Murillo has spoken publicly on behalf of the literacy programs and the library.
She has battled her fear of public speaking, to stand in front of news cameras and large crowds to tell her story without hesitation.

The Paul Howard Award for Courage will be presented Tuesday,
June 24, during the ALA/CLA joint Annual Conference in Toronto.