Rhode Island Coalition for Library Advocates to honor URI professor

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KINGSTON, R.I. – April 7, 2016 – University of Rhode Island Professor Cheryl McCarthy will be honored with the Sweetheart of the Year Award at the annual meeting of the Rhode Island Coalition of Library Advocates (COLA). The meeting will be held Tuesday, April 12th from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Rhode Island State House in the Governor’s State Room.

Through the generosity of COLA and a local benefactor, two URI Graduate School of Library and Information Studies students will also be awarded with scholarships. Chelsea Ordner will receive the William Bergeron Scholarship Award for public library services and Alyssa Taft will receive the Linda Aldrich Scholarship Award for school library media services.

The sweetheart award is traditionally given out on Valentine’s Day, but this year due to snowstorms in previous years, it was moved to April 12th for National Library Week. The Rhode Island Coalition of Library Advocates presents this award to someone who has supported and advocated for libraries not just for that year, but also for a lifetime.

McCarthy is a professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies in the Harrington School of Communication and Media in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is the coordinator of the Information Literacy Instruction Certificate and the School Library Media Program that received national recognition by the American Association of School Librarians and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education/CAEP in 2012 and 2016.

She has served as president of the former Rhode Island Educational Media Association, now School Librarians of Rhode Island (SLRI), and the New England Library Association as well as served on executive boards for the Rhode Island Center for the Book and other organizations. She has worked in both school and academic libraries and recently served as Interim Dean of URI’s University Libraries 2014-2015.

“It is absolutely humbling to be chosen for the Sweetheart of the Year award. It’s not something you imagine yourself receiving except if you’ve done something extraordinary. I think of the sweetheart as someone who has gone above and beyond their careers but for me, I do what I love and love what I do everyday. To be recognized for loving your work for 44 years is an honor,” McCarthy said.

“I have been advocating for libraries all my life. My primary focus is on providing and ensuring that there is equitable access to library resources for our diverse communities. Because of our digital divide there are many people who don’t have access to print and electronic resources except through their libraries. Libraries are also centers for creativity and innovation with maker spaces and computer labs and without them, you are denied that opportunity to create and to innovate. Libraries have become the ‘third-place’ where people go to connect in their communities and to feel a sense of belonging. Everyone should have access to libraries in their school, public, or academic communities.”

McCarthy’s Sweetheart Award is a celebration of a 44-year career working with all types of libraries and library education during COLA’s celebration of the American Library Association’s National Library Week.

This release was written by Caitlin Musselman, a URI Marketing and Communications intern and a public relations and political science major.