San José State Alumna and Librarian Wins I Love My Librarian Award

Kathryn Blackmer Reyes and Patty Wong

The American Library Association has selected a San José State University alumna and librarian for its 2023 I Love My Librarian Award. Kathryn Blackmer Reyes graduated from the SJSU School of Information with her Master of Library and Information Science degree. She now holds the director position of the Africana, Asian American, Chicano, and Native American Studies Center at the university’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Library.

The coveted award was given to 10 librarians who are “exceptional” and have “made a difference” in their community. Blackmer Reyes stood out from the more than 1,500 nominations because of her “outstanding public service.” The award process was competitive, and Blackmer Reyes says she is “thankful” to have been selected.  

It was during her time at Binghamton University when Blackmer Reyes started to “combine my academic interest with library skills” while earning her MA with Ph.D. studies in Sociology. Deciding to complete the MLIS program at the SJSU School of Information and become a librarian led her to academic libraries. “I knew when I started my MLIS studies that I wanted to work in an academic library and more importantly work with faculty, students, and communities of color,” Blackmer Reyes states.

As director of the Africana, Asian American, Chicano, and Native American Studies Center, “Blackmer Reyes has worked to identify and give visibility to lost and untold stories of communities of color in the Santa Clara Valley, and to create a unique and welcoming space on campus filled with vibrant collections and programming,” states the I Love Libraries profile on her. One such example is oversight of the library’s annual Día de los Muertos celebration, a collaborative event with the San José Multicultural Artists Guild and the San José Public Library.

In addition, Blackmer Reyes has “built two endowments” and “built one of the strongest race/ethnic collections in the CSU,” as well as developing collections and assisting with projects for several organizations. “I have much to be proud of in my work,” she shares.

The I Love My Librarian Award winners each received a $5,000 cash prize and were recognized at the LibLearnX welcome reception held on January 27, 2023, in New Orleans.