I’m thrilled to share the results of our first annual “Library Excellence” peer-nominated award program. The goal of this program is to help amplify (and celebrate!) the seen and unseen work of the library– as well as demonstrate how we in the library contribute to the college’s primary purpose of helping students “develop humane instincts and disciplined, creative minds for lives of leadership and service.” The library’s enduring values of Inclusion, Discovery, Openness, Engagement, and Stewardship are foundational to supporting this mission and guide us along the way.
The “Library Excellence Award Program” recognizes both individual and group accomplishments that exemplify what it means to live into our enduring values as an organization. Our values, developed during our 2018-2019 strategic planning process, include:
o Inclusion – We value, honor, and respect the dignity of all persons. We stand against racism and commit ourselves to the building of a more just and humane future. We provide a safe, respectful, and inclusive space for our community.
o Discovery - We value the community’s discovery of ideas and creation of knowledge. We foster curiosity through our resources and services, and embrace innovation in learning and scholarship.
o Openness – We value diversity of thought and provide resources that represent multiple perspectives. We encourage open scholarship in service to equitable access to information for all.
o Engagement - We value deep engagement with the curriculum and the work of our community. We collaborate with partners across campus to facilitate teaching, learning, and research. We develop programming to amplify marginalized voices and promote justice and understanding.
o Stewardship – We value the curation and preservation of information in all forms. We develop diverse print and digital collections that support the curriculum and provide a truthful record of our complicated history. We respect Davidson’s resources by making responsible use of our budget, time, and space.
Five “Lived Values Awards” were presented to individuals or teams and included professional development funds–along with a trophy and other fun prizes (such as movie tickets, Davidson Wildcat gear, and day passes to the Charlotte Art Museum). In addition, the colleague selected for the “Leading Change Award” is provided $250 to purchase an item for the library that has the potential to make the workplace better for all staff; the colleagues selected for the “Amazing Colleague Award” are provided $250 to host a team-building activity of their choice.
2022 Awardees (text below is pulled from submitted award nominations and may be edited for clarity): Additional photos coming soon!
Lived Values Inclusion Award: Cara Evanson has been involved in a variety of DEI efforts at the library and across campus– leading initiatives to promote diversity in the hiring process, including the development of hiring toolkits for student and staff hiring. During the fall of 2021, she was trained as an equity advisor and served on her first search in that role.
Cara can always be counted on to provide leadership and guidance for special projects that contribute towards the building of a more just and human future, most recently the creation of the library’s “Anti-racism Resources” and “Crisis in Ukraine” guides. She has been an active leader in the Green Dot Bystander Intervention Program, empowering others to take proactive steps to create a safe community– and she has served as a Davidson host family for the last 8 years–welcoming incoming international students to Davidson with kindness and warmth and serving as a trusted mentor to many.
Lived Values Discovery Award: Kelly Denzer plays an extremely significant role in the library’s ability to live out the value of Discovery. Over the last two years, she has taken on significant work to address years worth of electronic resource cleanup projects, clarifying acquisitions data, straightening out subscription terms and licenses, and tackling needed workflow changes. The amount of time required to monitor existing electronic collections, assess and review subscriptions, evaluate potential new resources, identify resource needs, and maintain positive vendor relationships is substantial. The importance of this work can easily be overlooked until something isn’t working properly! Her work in leading the library’s migration from a locally hosted instance of EZproxy to a free hosted option was an exhaustive process, handled with minimal disruptions. Kelly approaches the challenges of her role with professionalism, patience, and positivity– keeping even the most stressful days in perspective.
Lived Values: Openness Award: The Archives, Special Collections, and Community (ASCC) Team’s work has been especially focused on on expanding access to Davidson’s unique collections to support the efforts of the Commission on Race and Slavery. One colleague shares,”The team carries the emotional weight of critique and criticism directed towards the nature of their collections. This emotional labor, although important, is often unseen and under-appreciated…” In the past year, ASCC has made outstanding progress towards adding materials to Alma Digital, massaging and migrating data, and focusing on accessibility of their web presence. As one nominator stated “As I think more about their work… one can easily make the case that ASCC is the true embodiment of ALL of our core values. I admire their conviction and dedication to this important work, even when the volume seems insurmountable.” In addition, the team’s work with Davidson Learns, Shared Stories, and “re(collecting) COVID” reaches beyond campus to engage the broader community with Davidson in creative and meaningful ways.
Lived Values Engagement Award: The Research, Learning, and Outreach & Digital Learning Teams live out the value of engagement in all that they do– whether through course development, aligning resources and programming with campus conversations, new partnerships and collaborations, co-designing and co-teaching classes, mentoring peer tutors, creating new resources, welcoming new Wildcats, or working directly with students to support research, creation, and sharing of information in all formats. In collaboration with their colleagues both in the library and across the college, they help to develop resources– such as current programming around the war in Ukraine or supporting audio documentaries on the LatinX experience– to amplify marginalized voices and promote justice and understanding across the community.
Lived Values Stewardship Award: The Collections Strategies & Operations Teams “puts stewardship at the center of all their work. They are thoughtful about making careful use of all the library’s resources, including the collections budget, library space, and staff time. They have a monumental task which they handle with loads of professional expertise!” Another colleague shared: ”For their work around weeding the collection, assessment of the microfilm collection, managing the EAST project, centralizing e-resource, promoting new resources, and expanding access through ILL services. Denise, Michael, Dave, and Alice are especially deserving of the stewardship award as they support the operations of the library. They demonstrate a genuine care of the library as a physical space, making the rest of our work possible. Most importantly, as the Collections Strategies team continues to tackle the backlog of physical collections projects, it would be IMPOSSIBLE to make the necessary decisions, move materials, and coordinate deselection/sharing of materials without their help. As we continue to move along the path towards the library of the future, Denise, Michael, Dave, and Alice will undoubtedly carry us on their backs! We are all greatly appreciative for their support of all of our work!!”
The Leading Change Award is presented to Matt Davis. Since starting at Davidson in 2020, he has exemplified what it means to be a “good colleague”. As one colleague writes “he is always kind and friendly in their interactions and quick to help those in need”. Even when stressed (and down two team members!) he is always eager to listen, lend a hand, serve as a stabilizing force on their team, and lead the way– from the design and creation of the new library website, documentation on Omeka S, mentoring of students, constant troubleshooting of our syllabi-intake process-– he leads with kindness, curiosity, empathy, and an open heart.
Amazing Colleague Awards are presented to Joe Gutekanst, Michael Forney, and Dave Heinz: Recipients of the Amazing Colleague Award model excellence in all that they do– not only through their consistent high standards of work but in the kindness, empathy, and respect they show to their colleagues. Their presence makes the library– and all of Davidson College– a better place for all.
Joe Gutekanst is always quick to help a colleague in need–if he hears of a problem–he’s there trying to solve it (even if that is messaging a friend in need– from his car, on his day off– who needs a nail clipper back at the office). He maintains a kind demeanor even at his busiest and is always ready to offer a joke. One colleague writes: “You can tell he’s an excellent supervisor by the way his students are happy to be here–they’ve helped the archives with numerous projects and always do an excellent job–a sure sign they’ve been given great guidance.” Another writes: “You can count on this colleague to make someone feel welcome, tell a joke, lend an ear, or a helping hand – whether you are library staff, teaching faculty or a student – all while making the ILL department run like a well oiled machine.” His tireless work as our champion for Interlibrary Loan needs no additional recognition – the speed and quality of service speaks for itself. His genuine kindness and appreciation for his colleagues is deserving of recognition. “I’ve come to appreciate his vocal support of colleagues both in times of stormy seas and in times of clear skies. He speaks from a place of care, is inquisitive, and encourages me to think beyond the scope of what I already know. Joe is a steadfast member of the library team, is selfless, and the true definition of an “Amazing Colleague.”
Words like INSPIRING, ENCOURAGING, AND DEDICATED were used to describe Micheal Forney and Dave Heinz–who have worked so hard during the pandemic to keep the library clean and accessible. One colleague writes: “While many of us were working from home, they were here keeping the building clean and safe for our students. Above all, these two not only do their job well keeping us all safe–and the building shiny–but the word “special projects” in their job description is endless: in addition to managing broken water pipes and other fun emergencies– they assemble book trucks; move furniture; load books; remove books; remove covers from books; and discard corroding microfiche and microfilm.” Another colleague shares: “They are awesome– always smile– then ask ‘what else do you need?’ As our work across the library is a collective effort, I want to nominate both Dave David and Michael for their welcoming presence in the library and collegiality in all they do. From cookouts to the heavy lifting around here, they go above what is asked of them in their job title to make our library a better place.”
Congrats to the entire library team!
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