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Anctil, McAllister-Grande honored with 2012-2013 Carol Ishimoto Award for Distinguished Service

Anna Anctil and Jaime McAllister-Grande accept their awards at a ceremony with Sarah Thomas.

By Beth Giudicessi, HCL Communications

December 20, 2013 – Jaime McAllister-Grande was on hold for a call when she opened an email about the Carol Ishimoto Award. She expected to read about one of her colleagues, but instead did a double take when she saw the word “congratulations.”

McAllister-Grande, Harvard Library’s manager for user services and direct access processing, and Anna Anctil, senior human resources consultant to Harvard College Library, were both surprised to find out they received this year’s Carol Ishimoto Award for Distinguished Service.

Their humility marks one of the reasons they stood out for the honor, which is given to a member or group of the professional staff who advances the mission of Harvard College Library through exceptional contributions and leadership, and in particular, who contributes in areas beyond the standard responsibilities of his or her position. It was created in 1991 through an endowment established by Carol Ishimoto, former associate librarian of Harvard College for cataloging and processing.

“I actually had the privilege of knowing Carol Ishimoto,” said Vice President for Harvard Library and Roy E. Larsen Librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Sarah Thomas. “She was quite a formidable woman. Getting the Carol Ishimoto award is a big deal.”

The award traditionally applied to a member of the Harvard College Library staff. This year, in context of heightened collaboration, nominees were invited from both the Harvard College Library and the Harvard Library.

“In recognition of the evolution of the libraries it was opened to anyone,” said Thomas. “We got many, many wonderful nominations. There were a lot of people that were put forward. This year we recognized two of our colleagues with the award.”

“I was so excited,” said McAllister-Grande. “I was checking to see who won and then it said I had won. So I forwarded it to the staff on my team.”

Over the summer, she worked with her associates at Information and Technical Services to improve the efficiency of priority, rush orders for patrons.

Thomas described McAllister-Grande as a thoughtful, exemplary leader and outstanding communicator. “One of her most valuable traits is the way in which she treats patrons. She works very hard to understand how what she is doing or what she proposes will feel to the people around her,” Thomas said.

“I was surprised,” Anctil said, describing her reaction to winning. She worked to ensure the HCL had the staff and expertise to offer superior patron service and to build unparalleled collections during a time of transition and reorganization.

“I think things are settling and people are feeling excited about the library and the direction we’re going,” Anctil added.

“I can see the qualities that led people to nominate her for this award,” said Thomas, “She has for many years had an impact on HCL.”

McAllister-Grande and Anctil were nominated by their co-workers and were honored at a small ceremony with them and representatives from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences library community.

Susan Fliss, associate librarian of Harvard College for research, teaching and learning, acknowledged the significance of the nomination process. “What makes this so special is that people are nominated by their peers – they see the extraordinary work, or the diligence, or the compassion, and they write in about their colleagues.”