Federal Librarian Fall 2010

Shirley Loo Recipient of the 2010 FAFLRT Achievement Award

The FAFLRT Achievement Award recognizes achievement in the promotion of library and information service and the information profession in the Federal and Armed Forces communities.  The recipient of the 2010 achievement award is someone well known to FAFLRT and the larger library community and really needs no introduction for most of us.

That someone is FAFLRT’s own Shirley Loo of the Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service (CRS) and FAFLRT member extraordinaire!  Having served with Shirley as co-chair of the Awards committee for many years it was a special honor for me to present our esteemed colleague with this recognition.

I’d also like to acknowledge Doria Grimes, retired NOAA Librarian, for her thorough research and write-up documenting Shirley illustrious career.  In fact, it was at Doria’s suggestion that we hatched a scheme at last year’s awards ceremony to nominate Shirley.  Now for those of you who know Shirley, you will appreciate the challenges of trying to keep the nomination a secret from her until the Board approved it.  But in the end I’m happy to say we prevailed!

Shirley Loo is being recognized for her consistent and dedicated service throughout the years in creating recognition opportunities for librarians, supporting library school students, chairing awards committees, and providing continuity in the awards process for FAFLRT, DCLA, SLA, DC/SLA, and FLICC.

Shirley has served on the FAFLRT Awards Committee since its beginning and helped to establish the very first FLRT Award in 1984, now the FAFLRT Achievement Award.  Under her leadership, opportunities for recognition grew by three more awards, all of which Shirley helped create and nurture: the FAFLRT Distinguished Service Award; the Adelaide Del Frate Conference Sponsorship; and most recently, the Cicely Phippen Marks Scholarship.

Her dedication in recognizing colleagues and library students exceeds beyond FAFLRT and deep into the library community.  For example, as President of DCLA (1989-1990), she created the Ainsworth Rand Spofford President’s Award for outstanding achievement and started the DCLA student loan program which became, with the Ruth Fine bequest, the DCLA Student Financial Assistance Program.  As Past President of DC/SLA she served as a member of the Awards Committee.  For her enduring work in mentoring library school students and information professionals Shirley was presented with SLA’s prestigious RuthVormelker Award.

The aforementioned are but a few examples from each organization where she assisted in the area of awards and student recognition and assistance.  Her resume of achievements in ensuring that her peers are in the library profession are recognized for their accomplishments and promising library school students are supported in their educational pursuits are extensive.  Shirley’s commitment and perseverance has no doubt changed the lives of the many information professionals who have been the beneficiaries of the awards Shirley established.

Shirley is a native of Hawaii, earning her Bachelor’s and Master’s of education degrees from the University of Hawaii.  In 1967 she received her M.L.S. from Columbia University.  That same year she joined the Library of Congress and began exploring the use of computer technology and the application of technologies for information management.

At CRS, she was quickly promoted through the ranks holding positions from Bibliographer, both Assistant Head and Head of Subject Specialization Section to her present position as Specialist in Information Control and Automated Systems.

Shirley was responsible for the Compilation of Legislative Indexing Vocabulary from the 14th to the 22nd editions, which was used by CRS in its writings and for public policy literature until the 1990’s.  She is presently indexing the forthcoming 2012 edition of the Constitution Annotated which is a source of analysis and interpretation of the Constitution; cased decided by the Supreme Court which impact various articles and amendments are analyzed.  It is of value to Congress, federal and state agencies, the legal profession, law schools, the media, students of government, and to the public at large.  It has been issued by CRS for over 40 years.

Over the length of her career, Shirley has held leadership positions with and been the recipient of many awards from library associations.  Among those not previously mentioned are:

  • 1989-1990, President of DCLA
  • 1991, DCLA Distinguished Service Award
  • 1992-1993, President, ALA/FLRT.  She has also held most of the organization’s elected offices, collated its records, and compiled the first FLRT Handbook and history of the FLRT/ALA Awards.
  • 1999, Distinguished Service Award for her significant contributions to ALA/FLRT as an officer, historiographer, and promoter of federal libraries.
  • 2002, DCLA Community Service Award
  • 2002-2003, Chair, ALA Melvil Dewey Jury
  • 2005-2006, President of the DC chapter of SLA
  • 2006, DC/SLA Member of the Year award for membership growth making it the largest chapter in SLA.  She also planned a record-breaking 86 events, including library tours, virtual seminars, networking opportunities, and dine-arounds.  This Chapter saw participation in one or more events from close to 400 members.
Other professional society activities and accolades include:
  • 2002 President of the Library of Congress Professional Association (LCPA)
  • Recipient of LCPA’s Vanguard Award for outstanding contributions
  • 2005 Advanced Toastmaster Bronze Award, Hall of Fame
  • Charter Member of the ALA Legacy Society
  • LA Staff Organization’s Round Table Steering Committee Secretary
Shirley was also a featured presenter at the most recent FLICC Library Technicians Institute speaking about the value of joining library associations.

On a personal note, I’ve admired Shirley’s dedication, energy and wit since I first met her as a new FAFLRT member more than a dozen years ago.  She has been an inspiration to me and I’m sure to many of you.

On accepting her award Shirley shared, “It is an unexpected honor to receive the FAFLRT Achievement Award.  Past recipients have included a Member of Congress, the Deputy Librarian of Congress, and the Director of the National Agricultural Library.  I’m committed to student financial assistance and am happy that I’ve been able to help many students through my volunteer activities in FAFLRT and other library organizations.  I’ve also provided leadership by serving as President and serving in other Board positions for many years.  I encourage members to volunteer – you’ll continue to learn, you’ll meet more people, and you’ll enjoy it.”

A deep and sincere thank you goes to Shirley for her extraordinary service to the profession.  Take a bow, Shirley!

Maria Pisa
Awards Committee Co-chair

back to contents