2016 NYLA Award Recipients
by Kelsey Dorado, Communications & Marketing Manager
The New York Library Association will honor individuals for their support, leadership and advocacy of libraries at the 123rd Annual Conference and Trade Show in November in Saratoga Springs, NY on Friday, November 4.
The awards include Outstanding Advocate for Libraries, Outstanding Services to Libraries, Mary Bobinski Innovative Public Library Director, and the SirsiDynix Intellectual Freedom Award.
The Outstanding Advocate Award recognizes and honors an individual who, or a group that, has made a far reaching, sustained contribution to the promotion and/or support of library and information services to the people of New York State or residents within a designated service area within the State. Recognition may include lifetime NYLA membership, citation, and gift. The 2016 recipient, Senator Thomas O’Mara, understands the importance of libraries and library systems are at the core of New York's educational infrastructure. His advocacy has led to a multi-million dollar investment in broadband infrastructure to provide high speed connectivity to rural communities.
The Outstanding Service to Libraries Award recognizes and honors an individual who, or a group that, has made a significant, sustained contribution to the development, promulgation, growth or extension of library/information services to the people of NYS or to residents within a designated service area within the State. This year’s award will be presented to Ellen Rubin. Ellen has been a voice and contributor to the library profession in multiple capacities for over 20 years, making a career in Wallkill Middle and High School. She has occupied many leadership roles including, Council Chair for her School Library System and serving on the NYLA council. She not only contributes, she continues to be a resource, mentor, and go-to expert for all those around her.
The Mary Bobinski Innovative Public Library Director recognizes a public library director who has developed or implemented an innovative program leading to an increase in financial support and/or usage of their library. The 2016 recipient is Chris Finger, Director of the Geneva Public Library. Following a series of surveys, focus groups, interviews, and one-on-one conversations, Chris was able to clearly articulate the need to raise the library’s funding by 25% and give the community the library they deserved.
The SirsiDynix Intellectual Freedom Award recognizes an individual, group, or organization that furthers the cause of intellectual freedom in New York State. This year’s recipients were The Library Freedom Project and Alison Macrina. The Library Freedom Project was started in 2013 by Alison and is a partnership among libraries and other organizations, its goal is to address the problems of surveillance by making real the promise of intellectual freedom in libraries. In 2015 they advocated for the Tor relay in Kilton Library, West Lebanon, NH.