The following is the letter that was sent by Clara Hudson's colleagues that won her the award.
New Librarian Honors Award
"This award honors a librarian who has been in the profession less than six years, regardless of chronological age. It recognizes the originality and inventive ability of a new librarian who devises new and improved methods in library service on a statewide or local level, and who demonstrates promise for continued growth in librarianship."
We nominate Clara Hudson for the Award, to be presented by the Pennsylvania Library Association in 2004.
We are making this nomination because we admire Clara's determination and dedication over the last four years as she completed her M.L.S. while working concurrently in two professional positions. Clara has just completed her first year as Evening Public Services Librarian/Assistant Professor at the Weinberg Memorial Library, University of Scranton , but before this year, Clara worked as an Adjunct Reference Librarian at the Weinberg Memorial Library while also working full-time as the Library Director for the Mill Memorial Library, a public library in the Luzerne County Library System. At the same time, she successfully completed the University of Pittsburgh 's FastTrack Master of Library Science degree program as a member of the first cohort.
We often wondered how she did it. She never confused her three roles, that of public librarian, academic librarian, and library student, which may have been difficult at times since she often had only 30 minutes to change hats (although she did say it was difficult remembering how to answer the phone). She was unfailingly professional in her demeanor, despite the strain she must have been felt at times.
A word about her public library experience. At Mount Carmel , she implemented children's year-round story time that included the statewide summer reading program. Under her leadership, the Mount Carmel Library circulation statistics significantly increased. While there, she also wrote a successful grant to the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation allowing the library to receive several public access computers and a high-speed cable line and network. (Previously the library had 3 telephone lines for computer access.) At the Mill Memorial Library in Nanticoke , she implemented a fundraising drive, raising over $10,000 the first year, more than doubling the initial goal.
Coming from public libraries, she has excellent technology skills and is always up to speed with the latest in programs and software to make her fellow librarians' lives easier. At both of her public library positions, she developed and published Web pages for the library. Here at the University of Scranton , she manages our Internet Resources pages and the Ask a Librarian virtual reference service, answering e-mail questions and chatting with students online. She is currently representing the University of Scranton on the AJCU's Implementation Team for 24/7 Virtual Reference to share reference services among the participating Jesuit libraries.
Having had three teenagers obviously gives her an advantage when it comes to working with students -- she has great rapport with them. Last semester when she worked the 2 AM shift (finals' week) she brought in her camera and took pictures of the students in the stacks, with their pillows, studying till all hours, and used the pictures to illustrate an article she wrote for the Library newsletter, Information Update . Some of the students insisted on taking her picture too (no easy feat considering how much she hates having her picture taken!). The students find her very accessible and approachable. And to top it all off, she says she actually enjoys working the late night hours. (Something about being able to accomplish that much more before coming in to work.)
She's also very adept at working with our adult students and people from the community who visit our library, bringing her background as a public librarian and as a library user to her interactions. She has the knack of making each patron feel that his or her question is important. Her commitment to service is obvious. This past year, she drove down to the Allentown area to provide on-site library instruction to a class of counseling graduate students.
She's always looking for ways to improve her skills and service, and right now her desk is littered with books on MySQL and PHP and she has just completed an online course on open source software (we know because one of us shares an office with her!). She has also assumed the role of Distance Library Services Coordinator and is busy streamlining procedures to make sure our distance students receive quality service. Again, because of her background, Clara brings another perspective to her role -- that of a former distance learner herself.
In her first year as a tenure-track academic librarian, Clara has served as Chair of the NEPaLA Chapter, one of the most active chapters in the state, and as Chair of the Continuing Education Committee of NPLN, something that had never happened before. But the dual role didn't faze her -- in fact, she claimed it facilitated the communication between the two committees planning the annual joint spring workshop sponsored by NEPaLA and NPLN. Working with the committees, she successfully planned and moderated the recent program on alternative funding sources for librarians, featuring Glenn Miller, Executive Director, PaLA, and Jonelle Prether Darr, President, PaLA plus others.
Now that she's completed one master's degree, Clara is on another fast track to complete another one in history. Intellectually curious (an important trait for any librarian), she averages two courses each semester. She is truly an inspiration to all those considering entering the library profession. She jokes that the University of Pittsburgh should give her a commission for all the students she has referred to their program, and she has spent countless hours talking to potential librarians considering entering the field, sharing her experiences at making a career change.
Education: University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, Master of Arts, History, in progress; University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, Master of Library and Information Science, 2003; Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA, Bachelor of Arts Degree, History/Education, 1998.
Professional certifications: Certificate of Public Librarianship, Professional Librarian, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 2003; Instructional certificate, Secondary Social Studies, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 1998
Library work experience: University of Scranton, Weinberg Memorial Library, Scranton, PA: Evening Public Services Librarian/Assistant Professor, 2003-2004, and Evening Public Services Librarian/Adjunct, 2000-01, 2002-03; Marywood University, Resource Learning Center, Scranton, PA: Evening/Weekend Reference Librarian/Adjunct; Mill Memorial Library, Nanticoke, PA: Library Director/Administrator, Sept. 2001-June 2003; Mount Carmel Public Library, Mount Carmel, PA: Library Director/Adminstrator.
Professional affiliations and memberships: PaLA, 2002 - present; Chair for Northeast Chapter, 2004 & Vice-Chair, 2003; American Library Association, 2000-2001; Chair, Continuing Education Committee, Northeastern Pennsylvania Library Network.
My nominee can be reached at: Weinberg
Memorial Library, University of Scranton
Nominated by: Betsey Moylan and Linda
Neyer, Weinberg Memorial Library, University of Scranton