Those working in academic circles are aware of the important role of a librarian in every institution. Large libraries throughout the world have millions of books and other publications, and the staff is in charge of helping the user community through serving their needs. Many libraries have hundreds of employees, including department heads, managers, directors, and assistants. All of them, however, have select outstanding librarians who make these establishments paragons of learning.
Today, librarians are required to be digitally literate in addition to understanding various principles of library science. In fact, it is vital to support digitalization, digital information management, and digital research. We have selected eight outstanding librarians whose skills and experience are worthy of your attention. Each brief biography showcases their academic and professional careers and achievements.
Awarded Librarian: Mary M. Case
Mary M. Case is a professor and university librarian at The University of Illinois at Chicago. Her work as University Librarian entails maintaining the research library, which holds more than two million volumes. She has a diverse background in speech communication and library science that informs her current work. Her contributions to the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), as well as her university scholarship, make her an outstanding librarian.
Case has her bachelor of arts (B.A.) in English from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York. She moved into the field of speech communication, earning her master of arts (M.A.) from Syracuse University. She also holds a Master of Arts in Library Science (AMLS) from the University of Michigan.
Cases’ career began as a serials’ cataloging librarian at Northwestern University Library in the 1980s. She promoted to the head of the department after just two years. She also served as the head of Acquisition Services before her tenure as Director of Special Projects and Program Review in 1994. Case then moved to the Association of Research Libraries as the Director of Scholarly Communication from 1996 to 2004.
Case is also a published author. Her research interests include scholarly communication, knowledge creation, electronic journal resources, and creating catalysts for change in scholarly communication.
Additionally, she serves on several committees and has many professional associations. Among her commitments are chairing the Publishing Review Task Group of the Association of Library Collections and Technical Services with the American Library Association and servings as a Board Liason for the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) for the I-Share Users Group. For her achievements and continued commitments, Case has been recognized as an outstanding librarian by others. She is a recipient of the Beta Phi Mu Award for Outstanding Achievement.
Outstanding Librarian: Read about Mary M. Case.
Metadata Specialist: Tammy Druash
Tammy Druash is the Associate University Librarian at the University of North Florida. Her expertise includes cataloging special formats and metadata. She is also the liaison for two campus departments: Criminology & Criminal Justice and the Exceptional, Deaf & Interpreter Education Department. As a younger member of the library science community, Druash makes an impact in the realm of cataloging as an outstanding librarian.
Druash holds two academic degrees. She has a bachelor of science (B.S.) in criminal justice from Washburn University in Kansas and a Master of Library Science (M.L.S.) from Emporia State University in Kansas.
She began her professional career in 2001 at Florida State University as a metadata librarian. Seven years later, she became responsible for cataloging both digital materials and print serials in all formats, including archival finding aids and rare books. Druash moved to the University of North Florida in 2013.
As for her notable publications, Druash is the author of a few articles and presentations. She is also a well-versed presenter and has developed several poster sessions. Additionally, Druash is a member of both the Florida (FLA) and American Library Associations, as well as the North American Serials Interest Group.
Outstanding Librarian: Read about Tammy Druash.
Outstanding Librarian: Geoffrey Little
Geoffrey Little is a librarian at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. His oversight for the institution includes scholarly communications, history, and the Azrieli Holocaust Collection. He also instructs a graduate-level course on the history of books and printing in the School of Information Studies at McGill University. An outstanding librarian with broad interests in history, Little is a great example of scholarship in library and information science.
He started his academic career at the University of Toronto, where he earned an Honors Bachelor of Arts with Distinction. He proceeded to obtain a Master of Information Studies at the University of Toronto and then moved to Montreal to acquire a Master of Arts in History at Concordia University.
Little’s research areas include scholarly publishing and history. His interest in history focuses on that of books, printing, libraries, and the North American West.
Regarding publications, Little is an active author. He has written in many academic areas, notably book chapters, articles, and book reviews. He is also well-versed in editing. Additionally, Little frequently presents at conferences and seminars, publishing pieces annually since 2013. He also served on the editorial board of The Journal of Academic Librarianship from 2010 to 2015.
Outstanding Librarian: Read about Geoffrey Little.
Accomplished Librarian: Janet Lee, M.B.A.
Janet Lee is Dean of the Library at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. Her career with Regis University (formerly Regis College) is long-lived. She is an alumnus and the recipient of the 2016 Regis University Alumni Service Award. As a well-published and accomplished person in her field, she is an outstanding librarian.
Lee began her academic journey at Regis College, acquiring a B.A. in English and an M.B.A. in Information Systems. She had a brief academic tenure at the University of Denver to earn her first M.A. in library science.
As a student at Regis College, she worked in the library as a technical services librarian. With multiple degrees under her belt, Lee has quickly moved up the ranks, including being elected in 2013 to her post. Interestingly, she also volunteered for two years with the Peace Corps in Ethiopia before beginning her career as a librarian. This stint in a different country informed her subject specialty of International Library Development.
In addition to her academic and professional success at Regis University, Lee is a Fulbright Scholar. From 2017 to 2018, she served with the University of Aksum in Axum, Ethiopia in this capacity.
Lee is also well-published in her field with a particular focus on international libraries and their development. She also has an interest in open access scholarship and publishes in that area. Since 2009, Lee has been a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, a Jesuit Honor Society. The society recognizes her success in scholarship, loyalty to Jesuit values, and dedication to service.
Outstanding Librarian: Read about Janet Lee.
Awarded Librarian: Laura Saunders, Ph.D.
Laura Saunders is an associate professor at the School of Library and Information Science of Simmons University in Boston, Massachusetts. She received her M.S. and her Ph.D. from the university. Saunders is also the recipient of the 2010 Jean Tague-Sutcliffe Doctoral Research Award. A young professional quickly growing in her field, Saunders exemplifies the qualities of an outstanding librarian.
Prior to attending Simmons University, she earned her B.A. in English Literature at the Boston University in 1997. In 2001, she completed her M.S. in Library and Information Sciences (MSLIS). After a short break working as a reference and instruction librarian at the Medford Public Library, she returned and completed her Ph.D. She also worked at the Beatley Library of Simmons University as a library assistant.
Saunders began her professorial career as an adjunct professor in 2004. She currently teaches several subjects, including Academic Libraries, Foundations of Information Science and Libraries, and Intellectual Freedom and Censorship.
Saunders is a member of the Library Research Round Table (LRRT), American Library Association, and the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL). She also occasionally serves as a peer-reviewer for several journals in her field of study. Additionally, serving on several faculty governance committees, she is quite active at her campus. In addition to her 2010 award, she holds several recognitions for her publications and service to organizations like ACRL.
She is the author of two books, several book chapters, numerous peer-reviewed articles, and book reviews. Saunders is also an active conference participant. She is a collaborative mind who presents frequently on her research with others in the field. The contributions she has made in the areas of information literacy assessment, accreditation standards, and skills for reference librarians showcase her work as an outstanding librarian.
Outstanding Librarian: Read about Laura Saunders.
Outstanding Librarian: Ann C. Kitchel, J.D.
Ann Kitchel is an assistant professor and the Law Library Director at Willamette University in Oregon. As a faculty member in the College of Law, she works to futher the education of law students in two significant capacities. Her efforts and contributions to the field of legal research make her an outstanding librarian.
Kitchel earned her B.S. in Education at the University of Nebraska in 1982. She continued at the university to complete her Juris Doctorate (J.D.) in 1986. She went on to earn an MLS, specializing in Law Librarianship, in 1987 from the University of Washington.
In 1987, after finishing her schooling, Kitchel started her professional career at the School of Law Library of the University of Oregon. She then moved to be the Law Reference Librarian and an Assistant Law Librarian for Public Services before transferring to the School of Law of Creighton University in Nebraska in 1993. Kitchel held the post of the Associate Law Library Director for two decades before moving to her current post.
Today, she teaches several courses to students on legal research and writing. She is also well-published. Her most recent works include a book review, a presentation for the Mid-America Association of Law Libraries (MAAL) Annual Meeting, and several web exhibits. Perhaps most notable is her work William Blackstone’s Enduring Legacy (Creighton Law, 2007). She researches avidly on this topic and authors a web exhibit entitled Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England.
Outstanding Librarian: Read about Ann C. Kitchel.
Legal Research Expert: Janet Sinder, J.D.
Janet Sinder is a Professor of Law and the library director of the Brooklyn Law School in New York. Sinder is an expert in legal research, and her research interests are a connection between information technology and library services, including a focus on open-access and copyright. Her contributions to the field on legal practices through this research showcase her talents as an outstanding librarian.
She acquired her B.A. at Cornell University and proceeded to obtain a J.D. at the University of Michigan law school. She earned her M.S. at the University of Illinois. Beyond her education, Sinder is a practiced attorney with experience in the State Appellate Defender’s Office in Springfield, Illinois, as an assistant defender.
Sinder was also employed at the University of Maryland and Duke University where she worked at their law libraries before joining her current institution. She currently teaches about the topics of advanced legal research and intellectual property.
As an active member of the American Association of Law Law Libraries (AALL), she has served in various capacities. From 2007 to 2013, Sinder was the Law Library Journal editor. She is also the 2017 recipient of the Article of the Year Award from the journal.
Sinder publishes quite actively in her field. She is the author of several articles and annotated bibliographies. During her tenure as editor, she authored “from the editor” pieces, which are shorter works in her repertoire. She has also served as a committee member for the American Bar Association’s publications committee.
Outstanding Librarian: Read about Janet Sinder.
Librarian of Law Research: Billie Jo Kaufman, J.D.
Billie Jo Kaufman is the Associate Dean for Library and Information Resources at American University in Washington, DC. She is a librarian with vast experience in the field of legal research. Additionally, she is a professor in the Washington College of Law at the university. Her contributions to this particular realm of the field make her an outstanding librarian.
Kaufman began her academic journey at Indiana University in the 1970s, where she obtained both her B.A. and M.S. in Library Science. In 1990, she also acquired a J.D. from the Shepard Broad Law Center of the Nova Southeastern University.
Kaufman began her career at Nova Southeastern University in the law library and quickly became Head of Technical Services. From 1994 to 2003, she served as the director of the library from 1994 to 2003 before transferring to American University.
Kaufman specializes in and teaches cyberlaw, legal writing, and advanced legal research. Her publications include a book review on library management materials, several presentations, book chapters, and peer-reviewed articles.
A member of the American Bar Association (ABA) since 1987, Kaufman is a dedicated law library professional. She also chairs the Committee on Libraries of the ABA and serves on the Committee on Facilities for the ABA. She is also a part of accreditation inspection teams with her campus. The Computer Assisted Legal Education Editorial Board and the Southeast Association of Law Libraries (SEAALL) are also part of her list of professional associations.
In addition to her professional associations, Kaufman contributes to digitization and archival projects. Kaufman also initiated and participated in creating a mobile app for her current college in 2014. Additionally, she is the 1993-1994 recipient of the Nova Southeastern University Phi Alpha Delta Professor of the Year Award.
Outstanding Librarian: Read about Billie Jo Kaufman.
Radical Thinker: Sanford Berman
An unconventional librarian, Sanford Berman is best known for his radical, alternative perspectives on librarianship. He is an activist in the field, using protests, speeches, and letters to promote his viewpoints. Moreover, he published a series of papers, the Sanford Berman Papers now housed in the American Library Association.
Berman’s academic background is extensive. In addition to earning his bachelor’s in political science at UC Los Angeles, he completed three minors in anthropology, English and sociology. He went on to complete a master’s of science in Library Science at the Catholic University of America.
His work as a librarian was also ample. In the U.S. Army, we worked at the Special Services Libraries in West Germany. There, he was also an editor of ‘Yin/Yang,’ an underground GI magazine. At UCLA, he served in the Research Library and notoriously saved publications, including I. F. Stone’s Weekly, from being thrown away. He went on to work at a library in Zambia and one in Uganda for about four years. Later in life, he worked at the Hennepin County Library in Minnesota and co-founded The Social Responsibilities Round Table and its division tackling poverty, homelessness and hunger.
Even after his official retirement from working as a librarian, Berman worked to make strides toward his goal of fair library practices. Despite being published within the ALA, he actively protested the lack of consideration given to the impoverished by libraries in America. He also influenced the inclusion of new subject headings within the Library of Congress that were disseminated across libraries in the nation.
Outstanding Librarian: Read about Sanford Berman.
Outstanding Librarian: Laura Bush
Former First Lady Laura Bush has lived a full life focused on education. With a background in library science and teaching, she is truly an outstanding librarian. Both in her civilian roles and her role as a public figure, reading has been a cornerstone of her work.
Born and raised in Texas, Bush attended the Southern Methodist University to earn her bachelor’s in elementary education. She went on to complete her master’s in library science at the Graduate School of Library Science at the University of Texas at Austin.
Before marrying former President George W. Bush, she taught elementary school. She then moved into the role of school librarian. After their marriage, she turned her focus to her husband’s campaigns, serving as the First Lady of Texas and, later, of the U.S. In these roles, Bush lobbied for increasing the importance placed on early childhood literacy and development through more funding of related programs. She also developed book festivals both at the state and national levels.
In addition to promoting public policy and government initiative in her role as a public figure, she supported efforts in the private sector that also advanced educational causes. Of note, she was a spokesperson for The New Teacher Project, Troops to Teachers and Transition to Teaching. Each program helped professionals from traditionally non-education sectors become teachers.
Beyond her work helping to recruit teachers, she also supports the recruitment of future librarians. While serving as America’s First Lady, she helped establish a $20 million initiative intended to give grants to those seeking an education in library science. These grants can award up to $500,000 to individuals and programs intending to increase the field.
Outstanding Librarian: Read more about Laura Bush.