The Spotlight Award recognizes knowledge professionals for notable and unique contributions during the previous year. NYC-area website founders and bloggers, curators of distinctive collections, solo librarians, mentors and teachers, conference organizers, and other librarians typically working outside the traditional scope of SLA-NY award consideration are eligible. Non-members will be considered for this award.
Congratulations to this Year's Winner: A.J. Muhammad
A.J. has been recognized for his contributions to the 2017 SLA-NY Outreach committee that helped develop the Outreach resource on the chapter website and also as one of the organizers of The Fire This Time Festival which provides a platform for talented early-career playwrights of African African American descent.
The Chapter was very grateful to him for helping members receive discounted seats to Festival performances in February this year and for being on hand to make sure they had all they needed at the event.
Congratulations to this Year's Organization Winner: The Prison Library Support Network (PLSN)
The Prison Library Support Network (PLSN) is an information-based collective founded in 2016. PLSN aims to support incarcerated people by organizing networks for sharing resources and building a community around prison abolition in libraries, archives, and other knowledge-based institutions. The volunteer-powered collective is an explicitly abolitionist project that aims to reroute resources into the hands of those most impacted by mass incarceration by directing queries of incarcerated people to members with access to private universities, libraries, and archives.
Since 2018, the Association has hosted book donation drives with the help of librarians at New York Public Library that have acquired over a thousand book donations for the collections circulating Rikers. At these events, volunteers contact publishers for donations of titles requested by patrons who are incarcerated. In January of 2020, the Association launched a virtual reference project with librarians who work in jails and prisons through Brooklyn and Queens public libraries. This project draws on a broad base of over 70 information professional volunteers to answer reference questions that cannot be answered in person during library service to NYC correctional facilities. Reference volunteers are trained to support research at universities, school libraries, archives, public libraries, and museums and are able to remotely answer each question with care, clarity and expertise.
PLSN is also intended to offer collective support for librarians, archivists, and other information workers interested in exploring the best ways of building infrastructures for sharing knowledge resources and institutional access with people who are incarcerated or otherwise impacted by the prison industrial complex. Since 2019, the Association has hosted a prison abolition book club at the Metropolitan Library Council of New York which creates space for members to step back and discuss abolition in context with its work in libraries, archives, and elsewhere. Thank you to all the volunteers who generously give up their time to be involved in this important venture.
To learn more about PLSN’s work and how you can participate, please visit https://plsn-nyc.tumblr.com/
To nominate an organization or individual for the 2021 Spotlight Award, please submit a brief bio of the nominee, contact information (email and/or phone number), a paragraph outlining why they should be considered, and any relevant supplementary material such as a website or LinkedIn profile. The Committee is accepting nominations and awards will be presented at an upcoming Chapter event in the spring. Nominations should be submitted through the online submission form.