For immediate release | December 10, 2019

10 librarians receive coveted I Love My Librarian Award for life-changing public service

CHICAGO – Today the American Library Association (ALA) announced 10 winners of the prestigious I Love My Librarian Award. Recipients are dynamic librarians from academic, public and school libraries who were nominated by patrons nationwide for their profound impact on the lives of families, students, teachers and information seekers in their communities.

The I Love My Librarian Award honors librarians who go above and beyond traditional library service. This coveted award was established in 2008 and recognizes outstanding public service that has transformed lives through education and lifelong learning. ALA has received more than 19,000 nominations since the award’s inception, but only 120 librarians have received this distinguished honor.

“Our nation’s librarians serve the needs and aspirations of their communities by promoting education, employment, entrepreneurship, empowerment and engagement,” said American Library Association President Wanda Kay Brown. “Congratulations to this year’s I Love My Librarian Award recipients, who represent the highest qualities in social service and transform lives every day.”

ALA received 1,974 nominations for this year’s award detailing the incredible achievements of librarians across the country and highlighting the indispensable role librarians play within their communities, schools and campuses. Award recipients include three academic librarians, three public librarians and four school librarians.

This year’s winners are:

Jesús Alonso-Regalado

University at Albany, SUNY, Albany, N.Y.

Alonso-Regalado is acknowledged for his work in supporting information literacy through his “Librarian with a Latte” program and his commitment to ensuring access to textbooks regardless of a student’s ability to pay.

Stephanie Dannehl

Bertrand (Neb.) Community School

Dannehl is the first-ever Nebraska librarian to receive this honor and is recognized for bringing innovative technology to students, including mixed reality and 3D design.

Cathy Evans

St. Mary's Episcopal School, Memphis, Tenn.

Evans is honored for her ability to empower students to safely explore difficult topics (like mental illness and racism) through a “Fireside Chat” series and self-help resources.

Melissa Glanden

Powhatan (Va.) High School

Glanden is recognized for physically transforming the school’s library into a “chill zone” that offers maker spaces and flexible seating, as well as innovative partnerships with English and carpentry classes.

MaryAnne Hansen

Montana State University, Bozeman, Mont.

Hansen is honored for her leadership and her work with the Tribal College Librarians Professional Development Institute, which provides key professional development opportunities for librarians serving Indigenous college students.

Homa Naficy

Hartford (Conn.) Public Library

Naficy is honored for her leadership and work with “The American Place,” the library’s comprehensive resource center for immigrants and refugees. She also works to provide low-income adults with job training and extended access to technology.

Maria Papanastassiou

Arlington Heights (Ill.) Memorial Library

Papanastassiou is honored for her work in making the library more accessible, including instituting “Early Open for Families with Special Needs,” and in recognition of Papanastassion’s efforts to create a welcoming playgroup for special needs children and meet-ups for caregivers and developmental therapists.

Leah Plocharczyk

Florida Atlantic University, Jupiter, Fla.

Plocharczyk is recognized for her work with marine biologists on an experiment studying dolphin migration patterns and her work with adults with intellectual disabilities and special education academic research.

Janet Tom

San Francisco Public Library

Tom is honored for her innovative “Death and Dying” program series, which helps community members deal with grief and dispels the taboo around discussing our mortality, and her work with San Francisco Chinese Alzheimer’s Association to create a Cantonese/English bilingual forum for elders and their caregivers.

Tracie Walker-Reed

H. Grady Spruce High School, Dallas, Texas

Walker-Reed is honored for her 1:1 tutoring and mentoring of at-risk and low-income students. Nominators highlighted Walker-Reed’s support of the school’s learning process through instruction, technology support, and access to print and digital library books.

Since the award’s inception in 2008, ALA selects up to 10 librarians from a pool of hundreds of nominations. This year’s award winners will each receive a $5,000 cash prize, a plaque and a travel stipend to attend the I Love My Librarian Award ceremony in Philadelphia on Jan. 25, 2020, at 3 p.m. during ALA’s Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits. The event will stream via Facebook Live at 

Over the last decade, library supporters have shared more than 19,000 nominations detailing how librarians have gone above and beyond to connect them to information, educational opportunities and critical technology. Information regarding previous award winners, can be found on the I Love My Librarian website at 

Carnegie Corporation of New York generously sponsors the I Love My Librarian Award. The New York Public Library and the New York Times are award co-sponsors. The ALA administers the award through ALA’s Communications and Marketing Office, which promotes the value of libraries and librarians.

About Carnegie Corporation of New York

Carnegie Corporation of New York was established by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 “to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding.” In keeping with this mandate, the Corporation's work focuses on the issues that Andrew Carnegie considered of paramount importance: international peace, the advancement of education and knowledge, and the strength of our democracy.

About The New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves nearly 17 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice of libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit


Macey Morales

Deputy Director

Communications and Marketing Office