Alexandra Rivera wins the 2018 Equality Award

For Immediate Release
Tue, 04/24/2018


Cheryl Malden

Program Officer


American Library Association


CHICAGO — Alexandra Rivera is the 2018 recipient of the ALA’s Equality Award. The annual award, $1,000 and a framed citation of achievement donated by Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, is given to an individual or group for outstanding contributions toward promoting equality in the library profession.

Rivera is senior associate librarian for student success and community engagement at the University of Michigan Library. Prior to that, she was assistant librarian for outreach at the University of Arizona.  

Rivera has been a champion for equality. One example is her leadership at the libraries of University of Arizona and now at the University of Michigan of the Peer Information Counseling Program, a peer education initiative for undergraduate students from multicultural backgrounds. The program has addressed the barriers to library access experienced by new students, historically underserved, minority students and other peer groups.  Ms. Rivera recruited,  trained, and mentored undergraduate students of color in this program who in turn worked with thousands of their peers.

She has made significant contributions through her volume of services in ALA, ACRL, REFORMA and other library associations. As chair of the ALA Diversity Committee, she sponsored ALA Council resolutions in support of the Spectrum Program. She mentored new professionals through the ALA Spectrum Program and ARL’s Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce program. Rivera led efforts in the establishment of the ALA’s Diversity Membership Interest Group, which has grown into 300 members. She also helped set up the Joint Council of Librarians of Color, inc. (JCLC) in 2015 as a nonprofit organization that advocates for and addresses the common needs of the ALA’s ethnic affiliates. She currently serves as JCLC, inc. vice president and is guiding the preparation for the Third Joint Conference of Librarians of Color Conference to be held in September 2018.  

Rivera’s advocacy for equality and inclusion has also been demonstrated through her publications and presentations on the topics of diversity and equality, including a special commissioned report on the state of library leadership research and diversity leadership programs, peer-reviewed articles on integrating cultural competencies into library practice and on social justice issues in preserving cultural information on the Internet and presentations on cultural competencies at the national and international conferences.  

“The jury has been extremely impressed by compelling testimonies from the nomination materials and supporting letters that document Ms. Rivera’s outstanding leadership role and accomplishments in championing equality and inclusion at her institutions, and through national and international library associations,” noted Shali Zhang, Equality Award Jury chair.

Rivera’s award will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans on June 24, 2018. 

Members of the 2018 Equality Award Jury are: Chair Shali Zhang, Dean of Libraries at University of Montana; Andrew Jackson (Sekou Molefi. Baako), Past President, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association; Mandy Knapp, Digital Resources Manager at Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN), and  Hellena Stokes, Assistant Chief of Central Library at Houston Public Library.

More information about the Equality Award, including how to submit a nomination is available on the ALA website.