Washburn University librarian receives I Love My Librarian Award

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/11/2021


Communications and Marketing Office

ALA Media Relations



Sean Bird recognized with national public service honor 

CHICAGO – Sean Bird, associate dean of University Libraries at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, is a winner of this year’s I Love My Librarian Award. Recognized by the American Library Association (ALA) for his outstanding commitment to student success, he was selected from 1,865 nominations from library users across the country.

Over the past decade, Bird has strived to meet the unique educational needs of Washburn’s students, many of whom are underserved and underrepresented. His efforts include the library’s Center for Student Success, a one-stop hub for tutoring, advising and coaching for those in need; the Ichabod Success Institute, a bridge program that has substantially boosted graduation rates for underrepresented learners, and the Open Educational Resource initiative, which saves students thousands of dollars by promoting open access course materials.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Bird has continued to advocate for students, creating a program to distribute laptops amid the emergency shift to online learning. Nominators report that every Washburn student in need of a laptop this spring was able to acquire one thanks to Bird’s initiative.

“Sean has been a compassionate advocate for underrepresented students for more than a decade,” his nominators wrote. “His tireless efforts to increase educational attainment among students at Washburn have impacted thousands of marginalized students who now enjoy the promises of a college degree.”

Bird and this year’s nine other honorees will each receive a $5,000 cash prize, a $750 donation to their library and complimentary registration to ALA’s 2021 Virtual Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits. The virtual award ceremony will take place during the conference at 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021 and will be available to stream live at https://www.youtube.com/user/AmLibraryAssociation.

Since the award’s inception in 2008, library users have shared more than 20,000 nominations detailing how librarians have gone above and beyond to promote literacy, expand access to technology and support diversity and inclusion in their communities. Information regarding previous award winners can be found on the I Love My Librarian website at http://www.ilovelibraries.org/lovemylibrarian

Carnegie Corporation of New York generously sponsors the I Love My Librarian Award. The New York Public Library also supports the award. ALA administers the award through its 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 www.nypl.org. 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 nypl.org/support.

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 ala.org.