Last year, a teacher at my school nominated me for the Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times "I Love My Librarian" Award. If you have no idea what the "I Love My Librarian Award" is, don't worry, neither did I. But let me just tell you, this award is special.
Essentially, this award invites library PATRONS to recognize the accomplishments of their librarians - be they public, academic or school, and to explain how their librarians make their community a better place. It's not an award by librarians for librarians, it's an award that begins in the hearts of the community we serve - it's sparked by the seeds we plant through our work and grows because we've touched someone's life. I love that. I really, really love it.
Of course, it doesn't hurt that only 10 librarians (out of the thousands nominated) are selected. AND that each winner receives a $5,000 cash award, a plaque and a $500 travel stipend to attend an award ceremony and reception in December in New York.
Trust me, I know this award is special because I was one of the 10 recipients last year and I can say, without question, that receiving it was one of the most magical experiences of my life. Last year, once the dust had settled, I tried to write about the experience and how it felt to be a part of it. Looking back at that post now, I can can't help but feel nostalgic and wish that I could relive that night again. I told someone recently that it was like winning an oscar for being a librarian - nothing like that will EVER happen to me again. What's more, it all happened so fast, it was all so magical and wonderful, I just wish I'd been better at savoring and remembering each moment. AND I wish I'd taken a lot more pictures.
The good news is that nominations are now open for this year's award. And I know... I know... you can't nominate yourself or another librarian, but you CAN and SHOULD let your patrons know that this award exists. I bet everyone reading this blog has at least one patron who would jump at the chance to acknowledge the difference a librarian has made in their lives. This is NOT about tooting your own horn. This is about celebrating the good work we all do by giving our patrons a chance to share their stories.
I mean, c'mon... if one of your patrons said, "hey! did you know there's a way that you can share how awesome your patrons are by nominating one for this award?!" you'd jump at the chance to do it, right? Right? Of course you would. So... give your patrons that same opportunity. Believe me, if you do win, it's as much about them and your school and all the patrons and teachers you work with, as it is about you.
So, go on! Get out there and spread the word. And if you DO win AND you need a traveling companion, hit me up! I'm totally available. :)