Two iSchool Alumni Feel the Love with Recent Award Win


The name of the award says it all—I Love My Librarian. Among the 10 winners of the Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times 2014 I Love My Librarian Award are two alumni from the San José State University (SJSU) School of Information, Michael Beller (1999) and David Lopez (2012). Both are graduates of the school’s award-winning Master of Library and Information Science program.

According to the Carnegie Corporation of New York, recipients of the distinguished award are chosen “for demonstrating the critical role librarians play in transforming lives and communities through education and lifelong learning.” The award is a collaborative program of the American Library Association (ALA), the New York Times, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Beller is head of reference and access services at the F. W. Olin Library at Mills College in Oakland, California, and has been honored repeatedly for his leadership and his dedicated service to both faculty members and students. David Donahue, associate provost at Mills College, nominated Beller for the award and stated, “Michael is an ambassador for the F. W. Olin Library and for Mills College. His genuine affection for the institution, including its history and mission and what it represents is tangible. He has often been heard to say, ‘I am here for you’ and he really means it.”

For Beller, work at Mills College is a joy and a privilege, and working in the library is a way to contribute to the college’s mission. “The students and faculty who use the library are all wonderfully creative, interesting, and brilliant,” said Beller. “Their research improves lives, both at the personal and at the community levels. That I get to be a librarian here and support these great people never fails to amaze me or lift my spirit.” 

Lopez is also known for his committed service to the diverse patrons of the Santa Ana Public Library where he works as a librarian. Sarah Rafael Garcia, who nominated Lopez for the award, said, “David’s friendly demeanor and goal to provide a safe space attracts local residents of all ages and backgrounds to seek him out.”

Upon winning the award, both Beller and Lopez commented on how the experience of meeting other notable librarians has been inspiring. “Receiving this recognition has truly made me love what I do even more,” said Lopez. “I have met some fantastic library professionals, and we have all shared in our passion for the field together.” Beller also appreciated the opportunity to meet other accomplished professionals, and was excited to find out that he and Lopez were both alumni of the SJSU School of Information. “David Lopez is such an inspirational person,” expressed Beller. “It is librarians like him—working to lift up everyone around him—that makes me proud to have gone to SJSU’s library program.”

Lopez expressed that his work at the Santa Ana Public Library is “personal” to him since he grew up in the Santa Ana community, and he looks forward to continuing his professional development as a librarian in a place that is so important to him. “Santa Ana has evolved and changed as much as I have, and now I am happy that I can contribute to the future of the library with my presence and work,” he said. “I graduated from SJSU in 2012, but am continuing to learn more about my profession, and about myself, with every new day.”

To be eligible for the annual award, nominated librarians must currently be working in a public, school, college, or university library and must hold either a master’s degree from an ALA-accredited program in library and information studies or a master’s degree from a National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education-accredited program with a specialization in school library media. Each of the 10 librarians selected for the 2014 I Love My Librarian Award received $5,000, a plaque, and a stipend for travel expenses to go to New York City for the award ceremony and reception, which was hosted by the New York Times. Congratulations to all the winners!

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