The American Library Association (ALA) today announced that Alison Kenney, a business owner from Marblehead, Mass., is the winner of the 2011 White House Conference on Library and Information Services (WHCLIST) Award. The award, which is given to a non-librarian participating in National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) for the first time, covers hotel stay in addition to a $300 stipend to reduce the cost of attending the event.
During this year’s NLLD, to be held May 9 and 10, over 300 librarians and library supporters from across the country will gather in the nation’s capital to meet with members of Congress to discuss key library issues.
“After years of enjoying my local libraries, I’m excited about the prospect of stepping up my involvement and becoming a more formal library advocate through the WHCLIST award opportunity,” Kenney said.
Kenney said her love of books, book club discussions and the important place libraries have in the community has inspired her to be involved with local libraries throughout her life. She has served as a Friend, volunteer and formerly as an English as a Second Language (ESL) tutor through a library program. She even launched a consulting business with library resources and is now a successful business owner.
“I’m also a mom of two elementary school-aged children who enjoy the library too,” Kenney said.
WHCLIST, an effective force in library advocacy nationally, statewide and locally, turned its assets over to the ALA Washington Office after the last conference was held in 1991 in order to transmit the spirit of committed, passionate library support to a new generation of advocates. Leading up to NLLD each year, the ALA seeks nominations for the award. Representatives of WHCLIST and the ALA Washington office choose the recipient.
Kristin Murphy, grassroots coordinator for the ALA Office of Government Relations (OGR), said members of Congress need to hear from individuals like Kenney, who can communicate the value of libraries in their communities through.
“Non-librarian advocates have an extremely powerful impact, and we are honored that Alison won the WHCLIST Award,” Murphy said.
“She will be a great ally for libraries and the services that libraries continue to provide, even in these tough economic times.”