[This post was originally published on April 18, 2019 at The Ink On The Page.]
Following are my remarks after being presented with the 2019 Association of College & Research Libraries 2019 Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award.
Good morning everyone! I hope you’re having a great conference. I sure am!
I am unbelievably honored to be recognized with year’s Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award. This award begins with nomination from our peers, so I’m infinitely thankful to those who did so on my behalf. They are folks who have provided guidance and support of my career for a long time, and I am grateful for their confidence in me. I’d like to thank ACRL: the ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award Committee and ACRL President Lauren Pressley, whose ears I fear may be still recovering from the trauma of my screams of joy upon hearing I was named for this honor. I’d also like to thank GOBI Solutions from EBSCO for their support of librarians and of this award.
I began my career at a large academic library in a rapidly growing metropolis; while there, I was never really sure of the impact of my work on library users. A few years later, I continued my career at a small academic library in the University of South Carolina system, where I sharpened my campus outreach and research skills.
Currently, I am at an even smaller campus in the USC System in Lancaster. We currently have an FTE just over 1,300. Those questions about my impact on users are now clearly answered almost daily, and my research efficacy continues to grow. However, we are a small library in a rural area; thus, any constraints of funding, staffing, resources, and so on, are more deeply felt at libraries like mine – particularly at Lancaster, where we have been operating without a library director since 2015. Many of the things I’ve spearheaded stem from my wish to offer our students access and exposure to the same things they would encounter at larger institutions, and to let them know they are welcome via a sense of community. I am thankful for the opportunity to be creative and effective in my daily practice of academic librarianship, which I believe this award recognizes and validates.
Recently, I have been talking with our colleagues about their organization’s cultures – in particular, about workplace morale. This research has plainly revealed the intersections of ethics, leadership, organizational culture, collegiality, and well-being in our profession, and sparked in me a desire to serve my colleagues and co-workers where the reduction or eradication of workplace abuse and neglect is concerned. Today and moving forward, I invite you to join me in helping prioritize library employees’ professional and personal well-being as they relate to the larger LIS field and in our daily practice.
I’d like to acknowledge and thank the other librarian who works with me. Her name is Rebecca Freeman. She stands with me daily as we co-lead Medford Library. We co-lead it – I do not do anything by myself.
Thank you to my entire family, and especially my parents: My mother, Athena Davis and my father, Timothy Davis, who have encouraged my curiosity, love of language, reading, and learning, and respect for education – in any form – from an early age. I also want to thank my partner, Brenton Kendrick, and my little one, Ethan (who are here today). I am honored that they share my life with me. They also bring me positive energy, joy, comfort, and so much love. They are who I live for, and for whom I do all that is good and correct.
I will continue to improve.