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New ‘Resilience Award’ Presented to All Libraries Staff During the 12th Annual Library Celebration Awards

April 7, 2021

Each year during the first week of April, communities across the country highlight the critical and valuable contributions made by library workers during National Library Workers Day, a day of recognition created by the American Library Association as part of National Library Week.

At the Drexel Libraries, this means recognizing its own staff during the annual Library Celebration Awards event. Now in its 12th year, the Library Celebration Awards recognize Libraries staff and student employees who demonstrate exceptional service, collaborative teamwork, entrepreneurial spirit and dedicated professionalism. This year, the Libraries honored six colleagues and two student employees who exceeded expectations to advance the Libraries’ mission and values in 2020 through their outstanding accomplishments.

During the 2021 event held virtually via Zoom on April 6, the Dean of Libraries, Danuta A. Nitecki, given this year’s unusual times, introduced a special award: The Resilience Award. This new award recognizes staff for their toughness and their capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. The award honors those who demonstrate the ability to spring back and continue to perform tasks that contribute to meeting the Libraries’ mission, regardless of the unexpected challenges they face along the way.

“In the Libraries, we pivoted several times over the past year due to COVID-19…,” Dean Nitecki noted. “I extend this new award to all Libraries staff—for those who came to campus to prepare library spaces to safely reopen for students and faculty… and for those who adjusted home environments to work remotely. Each of us have been affected by this year’s disruptions and anxiety over COVID. This award is to recognize all of you for your mighty resilience, with sincere thanks for demonstrating the ways we addressed our wellness and took care of ourselves and others to make nearly unnoticed disruptions in delivery of the Libraries’ services.”

Dean Nitecki suggested making the Resilience Award a permanent accolade going forward. Libraries staff regularly face unforeseen challenges regardless of what caused them. Such conditions will offer many opportunities to recognize staff for exceptional service, collaborative teamwork, entrepreneurial spirit and dedicated professionalism in support of the Drexel community.

Congratulations to all our Drexel award recipients and to all library workers who work hard to support their communities.

2021 Library Celebration Award Recipients

Jane Bryan Student Worker Award: Presented to Christina George and Grace Sutton

This award is presented to student employees for their outstanding service to the Libraries. It honors Jane Bryan, director of Drexel University Libraries from 2005 to 2008, who was committed to providing outstanding service to students. With this award and reflection, we also honor Jane’s dedication and years of service.

Christina George and Grace Sutton have been exemplary student workers and Library Information Explorers from their very first year working in the Libraries. They both demonstrate a strong work ethic and dedication to providing a positive and memorable customer service experience. They are always willing to lend a helping hand for both clients and colleagues at a moment’s notice. One of their shining achievements was the creation of “The Study Break Room” in the W. W. Hagerty Library in March 2020—one of the last on-campus activities in the Libraries before the University pivoted to remote teaching and learning due to COVID-19. The students remodeled one of the classrooms in the Library to create a relaxing wellness room where fellow students could learn mindfulness techniques and other tips for relaxing and relieving stress during final exams.

The Matrixed Team Member Award: Presented to Sarah Newhouse, Digital Archivist

The Matrixed Team Member Award recognizes staff who demonstrate the Libraries’ spirit of matrixed collaboration, as evidenced by exceptional productivity and collegiality in cross-unit projects and programs.

Sarah Newhouse plays an invaluable role in several cross-unit initiatives at Drexel, including the Libraries Digital Repository Implementation Project team (which includes DUL staff from several different departments). She has also taken a lead role in managing Drexel’s archival collections management system, which is shared by several units within the University, including the University Archives, the College of Medicine’s Legacy Center Archives, the Academy of Natural Sciences Archives, and the Fox Historic Costume Collection. She is currently working to integrate access to archival finding aids and the University’s archived websites into DragonSearch to make the online discovery tool a “one-stop-shop” discovery layer.

Exceptional Service Award: Presented to Rachel Weidner, Administrative Coordinator

This award celebrates individuals or teams that demonstrate the attributes of dedication and collaboration, going above and beyond their job responsibilities to provide exceptional service.

Rachel is a hard-working, dedicated employee who is in constant pursuit of knowledge and goes above and beyond the scope of her day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. Rachel seeks out new projects and professional experiences to help her grow and improve, all while working to help her colleagues grow too. For example, last summer, Rachel created Active Allies, a weekly internal DUL column that features resources, news, events, and other information related to issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. She is committed to engaging Libraries staff in constructive conversations about diversity and inclusion and to providing authoritative information resources staff can use to educate themselves and become strong, active allies for others.

Change Champion Award: Presented to members of the Digital Repository Implementation Project Team: Steve Aucott, Library Applications Developer; Heather Cai, Manager, Library Integrated Technology Systems; David Cupo, Manager, Information Access & Metadata Librarian; and Sarah Newhouse, Digital Archivist

The Change Champion Award recognizes an individual or team who uses evidence of client expectations and the framework of the Libraries’ strategic directions to transform, improve or innovate the Libraries.

Last year, the Digital Repository Implementation Project Team (also known as DRIP) began work to extend the reach of the Libraries by updating and expanding the University’s digital repository. So far, the team has migrated over 4,000 electronic theses and dissertations and the University’s archival assets to a new digital repository. As a result of these migrations, which the team expects to be completed later this spring, the Libraries can now preserve the University’s research and archival assets in a more stable environment, while making them easily discoverable by researchers around the world.

Special thanks to members of the 2021 Library Celebration Awards Committee for their hard work to review and select this year’s award recipients: Shin Amano, Client Access Experiences Operations Coordinator; Tom Pugh, Specialist III, Library Integrated Technology Systems; Simon Ragovin, Archives Technician; and Jen Lege-Matsuura, Librarian, Health Sciences.