Loretta Parham, CEO and Director of the Atlanta University Center (AUC) Robert W. Woodruff Library, is the 2017 Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Academic/Research Librarian of the Year. The award, sponsored by GOBI Library Solutions from EBSCO, recognizes an outstanding member of the library profession who has made a significant national or international contribution to academic/research librarianship and library development.
Parham will receive a $5,000 award during the Middle Keynote session on Thursday, March 23, at the ACRL 2017 Conference in Baltimore…
Highly respected by the library and higher education communities, Parham tirelessly worked to transform the Robert W. Woodruff Library, serving Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College, and Spellman College, into a modern 21st century research facility known for its distinctive spaces and service. Under her leadership, the library has become known for its outreach to students, faculty, AUC alumni, and the wider Atlanta community.
In addition to the transformation of physical space, Parham expanded the library’s stewardship of historically significant special collections. Among these is the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection, acquired by Morehouse in 2006 and housed in the Woodruff Library. With oversight for all aspects of conservation and preservation of the collection, Parham successfully steered a smooth and secure transition of the papers from Sotheby’s auction house in New York to Atlanta and provided strategic direction for processing and digitization of the collection, making it accessible for public use within an impressive two-year timeframe.
The library extends this commitment to public service by acting as a cultural hub, offering symposia, art exhibits, civic discussions, voter registration seminars, distinguished speakers, and historical presentations to the AUC community and Atlanta residents. As the result of her vision and leadership, the Robert W. Woodruff Library received both the 2012 IIDA/ ALA Award for the transformation of library space and the 2016 ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award.
In addition to her work transforming the Woodruff Library, Parham is known as a champion for librarianship and higher education, advocating with passion and clarity for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), their significant special collections, and their value regionally, nationally, and globally. She has personally served as a mentor to hundreds of librarians and is the co-founding director and founding Board Chair of the HBCU Library Alliance. Established in 2002, the Alliance is a consortium of White House-designated HBCUs with a mission to transform its membership by developing leaders, preserving collections, and planning for the future. Due to Parham’s leadership, the Alliance has been the recipient of or project partner in several Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grants awards strengthening library services related to leadership development, photographic preservation, digitization services, and library support of faculty services.
An active member of ALA and ACRL, Parham served as a member of the ACRL Board of Directors as director-at-large (2011-15), member of the College & Research Libraries Editorial Board (2002-08), and as a member of the ALA Committee on Accreditation (2016-20). Parham additionally served as a member of the OCLC Board of Trustees and chair of the OCLC Membership Committee (2012-17), treasurer of the Oberlin Group Consortium (2011-15), and as chair of the Board of Directors and past finance chair of the SOLINET Library Network (2000-04).
Her publications include Achieving Diversity: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians (with B. Dewey, 2006), “Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Custodian of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection: ‘Until Further Notice.’” in RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage (2007), and “Redesigning Services at The Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc.” in Library Workflow Redesign: Six Case Studies (with C. Hart, 2007).
Prior to joining the Robert W. Woodruff Library in 2004, Parham served as director of the Hampton University Harvey Library (1998-2004), director/ administrator of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (1997-98), deputy director of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (1991-97), and in a variety of positions at the Chicago Public Library (1977-91)…”
According to KnowledgeSpeak “Virginia Steel, the Norman and Armena Powell University Librarian at UCLA, has been elected to the position of Chair of the SPARC Steering Committee. Steel has served as member of the Committee, which provides strategic advice and guidance to the SPARC staff, since 2015. Steel brings a unique perspective to the Chair position, informed by working with a variety of libraries ranging from Massachusetts Institute of Technology to Washington State University to the University of California at Santa Cruz.
She has a history of strong leadership and service in the library community, serving as President of the Library Administration and Management Association (LAMA), and on the boards of the Greater Western Library Alliance, the Center for Research Libraries and the OCLC Global Council where she is currently Vice-President.
Steel currently serves as the Chair of the Advocacy and Public Policy Committee of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and is well versed in the complex national policy landscape. She has been an active supporter of national and state public access policies and has been a vocal advocate for the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act and the White House Directive on Public Access to Publicly Funded Research as well as the California Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Act…”