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Member Spotlight: Simone Kirk

23 Apr 2021 10:10 AM
by Ronald Russ (Administrator)

Simone Kirk

We’re honoring Simone Kirk, Star City Branch Library Manager, this month.

“Simone truly has a heart for her community and continues to do amazing things with community programming - in-person events before COVID, and now through a variety of kits patrons can check out to take home. She is also a past president of ALPS and remains dedicated to the Arkansas library community - an encouraging voice for Arkansas library staff around the state,” according to her nominator.

Do you know an ArLA member who is working on an amazing new project? OR someone who deserves praise for their dedication and hard work to advance the library field?

Nominate them at for a Spotlight feature here on Facebook! Unsure if someone’s a member? Feel free to check the directory at

Freedom to Read Foundation to Offer an ALA Conference Scholarship through the Gordon M. Conable Fund

9 Apr 2021 10:56 AM
by Ronald Russ (Administrator)

CHICAGO — Are you interested in Intellectual Freedom? Would you like to attend the American Library Association’s (ALA) Annual Conference in June and learn how the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) and other groups in ALA are working to protect access to information? Applications are now open for the 2021 Gordon M. Conable Conference Scholarship, sponsored by FTRF. The Scholarship provides funding for two recipients who are an LIS student or recent graduate to attend the ALA virtual annual conference June 23-29, 2021.

The goal of the Gordon M. Conable Conference Scholarship is to advance two principles that Conable held dear: intellectual freedom and mentorship.

The scholarship
 includes conference registration and a one-year FTRF membership. In return, the recipient will be expected to attend FTRF and other intellectual freedom meetings and events at the conference, consult with a mentor/board member, and provide a report about their experiences.

The deadline for submitting an application for the 2021 Conable Conference Scholarship is April 15, 2021; the award will be announced by April 23, 2021.

Who is eligible: Students currently enrolled in an ALA-accredited library and information studies degree program or an AASL-recognized master’s program in school librarianship and new professionals (those who are three or fewer years removed from receiving a library school degree) are eligible to receive the Conable Conference Scholarship. Those interested must submit an application that includes two references and an essay detailing their interest in intellectual freedom issues. Applicants
 are also required to attach a résumé. If the recipient has already registered for ALA’s Annual Conference, he or she will have the conference fee refunded.

To apply for the Conable Conference Scholarship, visit For more information, please contact FTRF at

About Gordon M. Conable: Gordon Conable was a California librarian and intellectual freedom champion who served several terms as president of the Freedom to Read Foundation. He was executive vice president for public libraries at Library Systems and Services (LSSI) in Riverside, Calif., and was responsible for management and performance of LSSI’s public library contracts, including the 30-branch Riverside County, Calif., system. He also served as director of the Monroe County (Mich.) Library System from 1988–1998. During his tenure there, he withstood an intense controversy over Madonna's book "Sex.” Before that he was associate director of the Fort Vancouver Regional Library in Washington. For his efforts, Conable received the Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor Award and ALA's John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award for "intellectual freedom fighters.” In 1994 he was the first librarian recognized as Michigan’s Public Administrator of the Year.

Following his unexpected death in 2005, his wife and FTRF created the Conable Fund, which provides funding for the Conable Scholarship. You can contribute to the Conable Fund online at

ArLA Award Nominations Are Open!

6 Apr 2021 11:18 AM
by Ronald Russ (Administrator)

ArLA Award Nominiations Logo

The nomination form for this year's ArLA Awards is now open. You can find it at:

This year, we will be selecting winners for the following awards: 

Arkansiana Award - given to an author of a recent book that represents a significant contribution to AR heritage and culture; one award each for adult non-fiction, adult fiction, and juvenile (either fiction or non-fiction)

Frances P. Neal Award - recognizes a career of notable service in Arkansas librarianship

Distinguished Service Award - given for outstanding achievement in some area of librarianship

Bessie B. Moore Trustee Award - recognizes an individual or board of trustees who/which has made a significant contribution

Retta Patrick Award - recognizes an outstanding contribution to school librarianship

Arkansas/SIRS Intellectual Freedom Award - given to a person or group for furthering the cause of intellectual freedom on behalf of an Arkansas library

Lorrie Shuff Paraprofessional Award - recognizes distinguished paraprofessional library service

Suzanne Spurrier Academic Librarian Award - given to an academic librarian with a spirit of outstanding service and dedicated professionalism

Ann Lightsey Children's LIbrarian Award - given to a dedicated children's librarian

Rising Star Award - recognizes a library worker with less than 5 years of experience who has provided exceptional service for their community

If you know anyone who you believe is deserving of an award (including yourself), please submit a nomination! The nomination window will last until July 2, 2021. You can review full award descriptions and eligibility guidelines here.   

For more information, contact, Allie Stevens, Awards Committee Chair at

Member Spotlight: Susie Kirk

5 Apr 2021 10:10 AM
by Ronald Russ (Administrator)

March Member Spotlight: Susie Kirk (photo)

This month, we honor Susie Kirk, Library Outreach & Instruction Assistant of Huie Library at Henderson State University. Susie has worked tirelessly to promote ArLA through social media. She has chaired the Marketing Committee for multiple years and began the social media community of interest. In her day job, Susie is continuously working to promote diverse content to our library community through book displays and programming," according to Lacy Wolfe, who shared her nomination with us. "She's always eager to try out new technology that will better serve our patrons. Susie is currently working to create a Discord community for our student workers that she will then expand to the wider student population. Susie collaborates across campus as well as across disciplines. Along with the ArLA community, Susie is also active within the Higher Ed Web community. I think it would be great to feature Susie in a member spotlight for many reasons, but in part because as a paraprofessional Susie has paved her own path within ArLA and the broader library community.

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