ALA Beta Phi Mu Award: 2011
CHICAGO – Dr. Lesley Farmer, professor of librarianship at the California State University Long Beach, has been selected the recipient of the American Library Association’s 2011 Beta Phi Mu Award. This annual award, donated by the Beta Phi Mu International Library & Information Studies Honorary Society, is presented to a library school faculty member or to an individual for distinguished service to education in librarianship.
In selecting her for the award, the jury was impressed with Dr. Farmer’s commitment to working with her students and preparing them to be exemplary Teacher Librarians. In an era when many school libraries are staffed by untrained clerks, Dr. Farmer’s dedication to preparing Teacher Librarians for their special relationships with both students and teachers is exemplary.
School libraries are fundamental to ensuring that students have strong research and critical thinking skills and are able to advance and meet their educational goals. At California State University at Long Beach (CSULB), Dr. Farmer helps students who have diverse and varied life experiences become Teacher Librarians; her students praised her use of technology to help them understand the course material and also to teach them well in both the practical and theoretical aspects of librarianship. “She models innovations, and then students learn them…She is cutting-edge, and she has nurtured that desire in her students.” In addition, both her colleagues and students mentioned how much she works at revising her classes to be as effective as possible. Her students also said she understands each one of them and their specific interests. Her support continues long after graduation, as she mentors many of them both in their jobs and in getting them involved in national and California-based library organizations.
The Library Media curriculum that Dr. Farmer coordinates has attracted considerable positive attention. In addition to the care that her students get, they also receive a wide-ranging library education. It includes such initiatives as Service Learning, the use of many different kinds of technology and even an interactive book repair workshop. Her program was commended by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education as follows “The [CSULB] program provides leadership not only on the campus but throughout the country and internationally.” In the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) review, Dr. Farmer’s curriculum was praised “…as an outstanding example of advanced preparation.”
Everyone mentioned her impressive publication list – including more than 20 books, as well as chapters and articles. Her written work is often linked to the settings she researches, which further increases the impact of her work. Praised as being forward thinking, Dr. Farmer is currently examining young people, especially girls and technology; she recently launched a digital citizenship Wiki. Last year she helped develop the California State Library Standards that now serve as the basis for a statewide library curriculum, and she is serving on the steering committee to update teacher librarian program standards. She presents at local, national and international conferences as well. Reprinted from the American Libraries Magazine.