One of the first sessions I attended was the Unconference (wonderful, by the way). At the Unconference I was talking with one of the other attendees about this being our first ALA and she said, “Oh wait! Someone forwarded this to me this morning. There is free food on Saturday! Give me your phone number and I’ll send you the information.” Lo and behold it was the ASCLA Awards Ceremony. Initially I was a little indignant. How could these moochers attend the awards ceremony for anything besides honoring Laura?!?!?! Maybe they are serving champagne, I thought, to console myself (turns out it was pretzels shaped like Mickey Mouse). Or maybe ALA just knows that the best way to spread a message is with free food.
On Saturday I dressed in my conference best and went to meet Laura and all the other conference goers enjoying mini quesadillas and cake pops. I also got to see Jeff Martin again and meet Laura’s Mother, who is twice as nice as she is charming. As an aside, I now look forward to my own mother’s presence at all future awards ceremonies in my honor. The awards honored librarians, students, partnerships, and programs in specialized libraries with five different awards. When the presenter read all the wonderful reasons why Laura won her award, Laura received the loudest round of applause of all the recipients. I can only imagine the myriad of emotions and admirations running through the minds of every person in the crowd.
Laura has been my supervisor for three years now, and more than anyone I have ever worked for, she is able to motivate her staff to greatness. In the beginning, I was astounded by the loyalty everyone felt toward her and the Institutional Library Services, but now I understand. Through budget cuts and layoffs, it becomes more abundantly clear with each hurdle she has encountered, that Laura is dedicated not only to serving the underserved, but also her staff. She has the strength and high standards of a Titan, while still somehow making her staff feel comfortable giving input, starting new programs, and questioning her decisions, sometimes incessantly, probably much to her chagrin. In short, Laura is the embodiment of leadership and all of us at ILS are lucky to work for her.
Also, she said the reason she won the award is because of her staff, which I’m not going to argue, because we’re pretty great.