On Monday, October 20, 2014, the New England Library Association announced Mary Ann List as the recipient of this year’s Emerson Greenaway Award. Deborah Kelsey, NELA Past President presented the award with the following speech:
In 1998 the New England Library Association President established the “Great Librarian Award” to recognize the contributions of exceptional librarians. The first recipient to be honored for his outstanding achievements was Emerson Greenaway, an innovator in library organization and practice in the mid-twentieth century. Two year slater this regional tribute was renamed the Emerson Greenaway Award to honor the memory of its first recipient.
Mary Ann List is the Emerson Greenaway Award recipient for 2014. Mary Ann exemplifies all that the Greenaway Award means to New England librarians. She is the consummate professional.
A New Hampshire Library Trustee Association’s New Hampshire Librarian of the Year, Mary Ann List has always been an advocate for intellectual freedom and strong library service at the local, state, and national levels.
As a dynamic library director for the Andover Town Library and the Portsmouth Public Library, Mary Ann encouraged professional and educational development for both staff and trustees. She developed strong budgets and defended them ably to municipal leaders and citizens. Mary Ann just as ably mentored library staff, brainstormed new program ideas, and worked the circulation and research desks. Under her direction, patron and circulation numbers grew significantly, programming became more popular, frequent, and diverse, collections expanded, staff became better trained, and reference services became well-known for excellence. She led fearlessly through the technology revolution taking place in our libraries.
Mary Ann was a founder and the driving force in the Greater Manchester Integrated Library Cooperative System, Incorporated, the only consortium in New Hampshire at the time. With her hard work and tireless service GMILCS now has twelve members, public and academic, and services nearly a quarter of the state’s population.
Under her guidance, the City of Portsmouth built a new library, New Hampshire’s first municipal building to receive the prestigious LEED certification, becoming a model for all subsequent library building projects in the state.
Mary Ann is an exemplary mentor. She has added polish and sophistication to our profession in how she comports herself. Her advice is sought, listened to and followed even if at times it was not what we wanted to hear. She has taught us to stand up for what is right and how to do it with dignity and grace. She is a natural born leader. She has charisma and vision and is just fun to be around.
Mary Ann’s calm and steady guidance was key to getting NELA through the very difficult years following the recent economic downturn that jeopardized the Association’s future. She dedicated a tremendous amount of effort, energy and time to ensure that the organization she left when her term was completed, was a better, more stable and forward-looking one.
Mary Ann has the qualities that make her a “great librarian” and that was, after all, the original name of this award. She has had an impact on the libraries she has worked in, surely, but beyond that she has been a model of leadership in New Hampshire and New England.
We all are humbled to be able to call this wonderful person a friend and colleague.
Presented by Deborah Kelsey, NELA Past President, Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library Director
Nominated by Amy Lapointe, New Hampshire Library Association Representative to NELA, Amherst Town Library Director
Letters of support from:
Don Holden, Andover Town Library Trustee 1990-2014
Robin Julian, Andover Town Library Trustee
Krista I. McLeod, Massachusetts Library Association Representative to NELA, Nevins Memorial Library Director
Denise M. van Zanten, GMILCS, Inc. President, Manchester Public Library Director, NELA Treasurer
Michael York, New Hampshire State Librarian