Four librarians receive national awards for achievement, distinguished service

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Four Penn State University Libraries faculty librarians — Alexandria Chisholm, Sarah Hartman-Caverly, Hailley Fargo and Helen Smith — have been named 2021 co-recipients among three honors conferred by the Association of College & Research Libraries’ (ACRL) 2021 Achievement and Distinguished Service Awards.

Chisholm and Hartman-Caverly, reference and instruction librarians at Penn State Berks Thun Library, share the 2021 Instruction Section Innovation Award for their Digital Shred Privacy Literacy Initiative project. Their project demonstrated a high level of innovation with particular focus on privacy literacy and includes lesson plans that may be adapted at other institutions. The initiative includes their Digital Shred Privacy Literacy Toolkit, creative commons licensed Privacy Workshop Series, and ongoing scholarship.

Sponsored by EBSCO Information Services, the Innovation Award and its $3,000 prize honor librarians who have implemented innovative approaches to information literacy at their respective institutions or in their communities.

Chisholm and Hartman-Caverly also were 2020 recipients, along with their Thun Library colleague and reference and instruction librarian Brett Spencer, of the Innovation in College Librarianship Award from the College Libraries Section (CLS) of ACRL. Their 2020 award recognized their creation of the library’s Discovery Lab, a learner-centered library space with complementary collections that facilitate exploration of information and knowledge building.

Smith, Penn State’s agricultural sciences librarian, shares the 2021 STS Oberly Award for Bibliography in the Agricultural or Natural Sciences with Jen Kirk, government information librarian at Utah State University, for their work “An Inventory of Published Soil Surveys of the United States.” This work makes soil surveys, which provide rich historical data, easily discoverable to researchers and general users. It is available online in ScholarSphere, Penn State’s institutional repository.

Established in 1923, the Oberly Award is presented biennially in odd-numbered years for the best English-language bibliography in the field of agriculture or a related science. It includes a cash award and a plaque, funded by an endowment created by individuals and vendor contributions, including the U.S. Agricultural Information Network, the Agway Foundation, Associates of the National Agricultural Library, the Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries, and the Cargill Information Center.

Smith was part of a Penn State team honored with the 2013 Oberly Award and the 2013 Partnership Award for Effective and Efficient Use of Resources from USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Both awards acknowledged the team’s development of the 4-H Youth Development and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program research databases.

Fargo, student engagement coordinator with the Libraries’ Library Learning Services department, shares the 2021 ULS Outstanding Professional Development Award as one of the four members of the editorial team for the library professional-development blog The Librarian Parlor. The team was selected for their efforts to create and promote an online community of practice for librarians.

Sponsored by Library Juice Academy, the Outstanding Professional Development Award and its $1,000 prize recognize librarians, archivists or curators whose contributions to providing professional development opportunities for librarians have been especially noteworthy or influential.

Fargo also is a 2020–22 scholar of the Penn State Student Engagement Network Engagement Academy, selected for her project “Keeping Students at the Center: Expanding Our Understanding of Student Engagement.” Her two-year scholar role builds on her previous year named among the Student Engagement Network’s faculty fellows. In addition, Fargo leads Penn State Libraries Short Stories’ Short Edition student editorial board and helps to coordinate the Libraries’ University-wide Undergraduate Research Award: Excellence in Information Literacy presented to Penn State students at all undergraduate Penn State campuses.