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Elaine Harger named first recipient of SRRT’s Herb Biblo Outstanding Leadership Award for Social Justice and Equality

CHICAGO — The American Library Association’s Social Responsibility Roundtable has named Elaine Harger as the first recipient of the Herb Biblo Outstanding Leadership Award for Social Justice and Equality.

The purpose of this award is to recognize an individual for outstanding leadership in promoting social justice and/or equality within the library profession. Leadership may be demonstrated by accomplishments through the Social Accountability Roundtable or other ALA bodies, socially accountable groups within state, provincial, regional, or municipal library organizations and/or or international library organizations.

Preference will be given to individuals who have had the widest impact, including an influence on society at large outside of the library environment. To be eligible for this award, individuals must be members of SRRT or other library organizations or groups with similar goals and objectives. The first prize will be awarded at the 2022 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. One prize per year of $2,000 will be awarded initially.

Elaine Harger began her library career as a student at the University of Utah Marriott Library Copy Center. After working as a clerk and paraprofessional at the University of Utah, New York University, and Columbia University, she earned her MLS in 1988 from the School of Library Services at Columbia (now now extinct). Her career as a librarian began at the Harry Van Arsdale, Jr. School of Labor Studies, a branch of Empire State College in New York. Next came a brief stint as chief librarian at the New Jersey Historical Society, after which she entered public education as a school librarian. She opened the library at PS/IS 176, the W. Haywood Burns School. Leaving New York, she became a librarian at Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie, Washington; Meadowdale Elementary in Lynnwood Washington; and finished his career at Washington Middle School in Seattle. She is now retired and lives in Spokane Washington.

Harger’s volunteer career as a librarian includes a continuous membership in the ALA and SRRT for 35 years during which she served on several SRRT task forces and as an SRRT coordinator. She also served as co-chair of the Joint ALA/AFL-CIO Committee on Library Services to Labor Groups; as an elected member of the ALA Board and a member of the Board’s Education Committee and Organizing Committee. She is co-founder of the Progressive Librarians Guild and served on the editorial board of Progressive Librarian. His written work ranges from an article in Alkaline Advocate to a column on library unions for Library Journal, to reviews for C&RL. His book Which Side Are You? Seven Social Responsibility Debates in Librarianship, 1990-2015 was published by McFarland & Co. in 2016. She also contributed to the forthcoming book Countering White Supremacy in Librarianship: A Toolkit, published by Western States Center.

For more information on the award and criteria, visit the Herb Biblo Outstanding Leadership Award for Social Justice and Equality webpage: Questions and inquiries regarding the Herb Biblo Outstanding Leadership Award for Social Justice and Equality can be directed to Monica Chapman, SRRT Liaison Officer, at [email protected] or [email protected]

Since 1969, members of the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) have worked to make the American Library Association (ALA) more democratic. They also worked to promote a more progressive agenda. In doing so, SRRT has provided a home within ALA for progressive librarians, library workers, and supporters who agree to promote social responsibility as a core value of librarianship. For more information on SRRT, visit their website at