Love Your Librarian

LCC reference and instruction librarian to be honored by American Library Association

On a typical day, librarians toil in anonymity. They will take a collective bow if the library they serve wins special recognition, but the individual spotlight is not something a librarian normally seeks.

So imagine Claire Dannenbaum’s surprise when the American Library Association reached out to inform her late last year that she was one of 10 recipients of the 2024 “I Love My Librarian” award, a highly prestigious honor in the library community given as part of the ALA’s annual Library Learning Experience Conference Jan. 19 through 22 in Baltimore, Maryland. The “I Love My Librarian” honors has been handed out by the ALA since 2008, and 150 librarians nationally have received the honor.

Dannenbaum, a reference and instruction librarian at Lane Community College, was “shocked and speechless” at news of the award.

“And that’s not common for me,” she says with a laugh. “I was definitely in shock.”

Dannenbaum was nominated by Ce Rosenow, a writing and poetry instructor at LCC, “and apparently she was very successful,” Dannenbaum says of the nomination.

A librarian can wear many hats on a given day, Dannenbaum notes, especially at LCC where four librarians serve a diverse full-time and part-time student body that has varying educational backgrounds and goals.

Dannenbaum, who has been at LCC since 2009 and was appointed full-time to her post in the fall of 2014, says she has three main criteria that she focuses on daily, be it online or in the classroom: Teaching and research (“More or less, everyone is new to research at the community college level,” she points out.); advocating for the library; and being a liaison on behalf of the library with faculty for varied programs within the arts, science, social sciences and culinary areas as well as the health and physical education departments to integrate information literacy concepts into their courses.

She won’t be attending the conference in Baltimore to collect her award. Starting with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday Jan. 15 and the icy conditions that closed LCC for two days afterward, Dannenbaum says she’s already behind in her work in the early portion of winter term, and travel conditions on the East Coast may not be ideal, either.

Instead, Dannenbaum will be hard at work advocating for the library and mentoring LCC students who need research help. Now more than ever, she emphasizes, strong libraries are needed to enhance critical thinking and help grow democracy.

“Being in the world is being in ideas, and ideas are not neat,” she says. “There’s always multiple sides to every story. A lot of people who are new to research have to learn that.”

Claire Dannenbaum will be on the frontlines of that task.   

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