Harvard College Library News: News from around the libraries

Laura Farwell Blake Receives National Award

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Laura Farwell Blake, Head of Services for Academic Programs, in the Loker Room of Widener Library. Blake recently received the Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award.


December 7, 2010 – Today, Laura Farwell Blake, head of services for academic programs at Harvard University’s Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library, was named one of 10 librarians recognized for service to her community as a winner of the Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award.

Farwell Blake is noted for her “genuine excitement about matching students with techniques of learning and modes of research” by her nominator and is said to be “routinely described to prospective graduate students as being the number one reason to attend Harvard for an English Ph.D.”

Each of the 10 award winners receives a $5,000 cash award and will be honored at a ceremony and reception in New York, hosted by The New York Times, on Dec. 9. More information about the award is available at I Love My Librarian. Nominations were open to librarians working in public, school, college, community college and university libraries. 

 “Libraries are among those cherished institutions that are most representative of our open society,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York. “We must, therefore, acknowledge that libraries—and hence, librarians—are indispensable to the strength and vitality of our nation and our democracy. Libraries have and always will contain our nation’s heritage, the heritage of humanity, the record of its triumphs and failures, the record of mankind’s intellectual, scientific and artistic achievements. And more, they are the diaries of the human race and the true instruments of civilization that provide tools for learning, understanding and progress. We celebrate them as our link to the past, our partner in navigating the present, and our guide to the future.”

“We are delighted to once again join Carnegie Corporation of New York and the American Library Association in honoring librarians from across the country,” said Janet L. Robinson, president and chief executive officer of The New York Times Company. “The New York Times is proud of its commitment to education and is thrilled to pay tribute to these ten men and women who play such a vital role in the intellectual health of their communities and in our society as a whole. We are truly grateful to them.”
“We are thrilled to honor the 10 winners of this award for their excellence and as a tribute to the significant impact that libraries and librarians have on the lives of people in their communities every day,” said Roberta Stevens, president of the American Library Association (ALA).

The ALA administered the award through the Campaign for America’s Libraries, its public awareness campaign that promotes the value of libraries and librarians.

The award, which began as The New York Times Librarian Awards in 2000, is now a collaborative program of Carnegie Corporation of New York, The New York Times and the American Library Association. 

The selection committee is comprised of Dr. Camila A. Alire, past president, American Library Association; Cassandra G. Barnett, past president, American Association of School Librarians, a division of the American Library Association; Dr. Rookaya Bawa, program officer at Carnegie Corporation of New York; Audra L. Caplan, president, Public Library Association, a division of the American Library Association; Lori A. Goetsch, past president, Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association; and Diane McNulty, executive director, Corporate Communications, The New York Times Company.

Carnegie Corporation of New York was created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to “to do real and permanent good in this world.”   For almost 100 years, the Corporation has carried out Mr. Carnegie’s vision of philanthropy by building on his two major concerns: international peace and advancing education and knowledge. 

The New York Times Company, a leading media company with 2009 revenues of $2.4 billion, includes The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, The Boston Globe, 15 other daily newspapers, and more than 50 Web sites, including NYTimes.com, Boston.com and About.com. The Company's core purpose is to enhance society by creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news, information and entertainment.

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 62,000 members.  Its mission is to promote the highest quality library and information services and public access to information.

More than 2,000 library supporters nationwide nominated a librarian. The nine additional award recipients are:

  • Paul "The Library Guy" Clark
    Clay County Library System
    Fleming Island, Fla.
  • Ellen M. Dolan
    Shrewsbury Public Library
    Shrewsbury, Mass.
  • Melissa McCollum
    County of Los Angeles Public Library, Lawndale Library
    Lawndale, Calif.
  • Kelley I. McDaniel
    Helen King Middle School
    Portland, Maine
  • Patricia J. Updike
    Webb Street School
    Gastonia, N.C.
  • Doug Valentine
    McKillop Elementary School
    Melissa, Texas
  • Christina Wagner
    Goodman South Madison Branch Library
    Madison, Wisc.
  • Stefanie Wittenbach
    Texas A&M University-San Antonio
    San Antonio, Texas
  • Jeff Dowdy
    Bainbridge College Library
    Bainbridge, Ga.