Meet 10 of America’s Favorite Librarians

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Every year, thousands of library users submit nominations for the American Library Association (ALA)’s I Love My Librarian Award—but only 10 outstanding nominees can receive this prestigious honor. This year’s newly announced winners have truly gone above and beyond to serve and empower their communities, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During an unprecedentedly challenging year, librarians have risen to the occasion, providing much-needed resources to their communities from a safe distance,” ALA president Julius C. Jefferson, Jr. shared in a press release. “Congratulations to this year’s I Love My Librarian Award winners, who have worked tirelessly to assist, engage, and empower the people they serve.” 

Leaders from the library community selected the winners from a pool of 1,865 nominations. The honorees will each receive $5,000, plus a $750 gift to their libraries, both funded by award sponsor Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Here are this year’s winners:

Jayanti Addleman

As director of California’s Hayward Public Library, Addleman has kept her community strong during the pandemic. Her efforts include removing barriers to online library card registration, distributing technology to community members in need and purchasing a bookmobile to distribute resources throughout the area.

Jessica Bell

Bell’s leadership has transformed the Bellack Library at Boston’s MGH Institute of Health Professions into a world-class resource for teaching and learning, offering information literacy training for all students, open access course materials and extensive expertise in instructional design.

Sean Bird

At Washburn University in Kansas, Bird has worked tirelessly to support student success, especially for learners from underserved and underrepresented backgrounds. During 2020’s emergency shift to online learning, he led a technology lending program that distributed laptops to every student who needed one.

Naomi Bishop

Bishop is a champion for social justice at the University of Arizona’s Phoenix Biomedical Campus, raising much-needed awareness about racism in health sciences literature. She has also contributed valuable research and reference expertise to the local medical community during the pandemic.

Jesse Braun

During the pandemic, Braun has been a lifeline for students and teachers at California’s Beverly Vista Middle School, leading online lessons, transitioning clubs to virtual meetings, offering remote reference assistance, and disseminating bags of textbooks to 900 students, all while maintaining social distancing.

Adilene Estrada-Huerta

At California’s Sacramento Public Library, Estrada-Huerta has provided outstanding outreach services to Spanish-speaking families, including bilingual storytimes, a traveling literacy program and a partnership with the Mexican Consulate.

Jianye He

Chinese studies scholars in at the University of California, Berkeley and beyond rely on He for expert assistance locating hard-to-find sources. Her vast network of research contacts, welcoming demeanor and extensive subject knowledge have made her indispensable to the scholarly community.

Jane Martellino

Martellino has created a vibrant culture of literacy at the International School at Dundee, located in Greenwich, Connecticut. Her efforts include launching the school’s Battle of the Books and “one book, one school” initiatives, as well as founding Connecticut’s first K-3 book award program.

Jennifer Newcome

At Northeastern High School in Manchester, Pennsylvania, Newcome has transformed the library into a community hub. Learners of all kinds feel welcome in the space, from struggling students seeking out tutoring to dual-enrollees who need somewhere to focus on college assignments.

Elizabeth Moreau Nicolai

In her time at Anchorage Public Library, Nicolai has helped countless children discover a love of literacy and STEAM. Her accomplishments include partnering with the Anchorage School District to register more than 90 percent of local students for a public library card.

Learn more about the I Love My Librarian Award.