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Librarian feels the love by winning ‘I Love My Librarian’ award

By Geoff Cantrell
shamella cromartie

Shamella Cromartie

Shamella Cromartie, associate dean of Hunter Library at Western Carolina University and a driving force for empowering scholarship on campus and in the community, is a winner of this year’s I Love My Librarian award, the American Library Association recently announced.

“I am honored that my colleagues across campus thought enough of me to nominate me,” said Cromartie. “I’ve always been grateful for those colleagues that are happy to collaborate with me and who are invested in my success, just as I am in their success.”

Cromartie has centered equity, diversity and inclusion in her programming and service efforts at WCU, notably in her development and implementation of the library’s Faculty Fellows program. Designed as a competitive application process, the program coaches faculty in employing inclusive pedagogy. It also rewards successful applicants with a stipend for their work and funding for inclusive classroom materials.

As one of her nominators noted, “Prior to her arrival, I never thought of the library as a space that would lead in diversity and inclusion efforts. She is cultivating faculty pedagogical capacity, while simultaneously ensuring our collection is inclusive.” 

I love my librarian logo


Another nomination reads: “Shamella has a keen sense of observation combined with a deep knowledge of literature and resources. She uses all of her skills to provide the most student-centered experience. She is a champion for integrated learning and resource development.” 

An example of Cromartie’s diligence in assisting research was provided by a professor who was researching an administrator of African American schools in the 1920s-50s. She had sought out the groundbreaking educator’s master's thesis, of which only one copy is known to exist. After repeated dead ends, she said Cromartie “went the extra mile” to work with the holding institution. “A month or so later, she walked in my office with the bound thesis – as I read the pages, I cried,” the professor said.

“WCU is a special place, it thrives on community, and I am grateful to have found a community that supports me and those colleagues that nominated me,” Cromartie said.

Each of the 10 recipients will receive $5,000, along with a $750 donation to their library. Some 1,300 nominations were submitted nationwide.

The I Love My Librarian award is sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, with support from the New York Public Library and administered by the Communications and Marketing Office of the American Library Association.

An awards ceremony will be livestreamed on the American Library Association YouTube channel on Saturday, Jan. 22, at 4:30 p.m.

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