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Call for Nominations- 2017 Beta Phi Mu Librarian of the Year

Alabama Librarians, it’s that time of year again! The time of year when we honor an amazing colleague for their great work. What a fantastic way to let our colleagues know that they’re appreciated!

Do you know a stellar Alabama librarian? Would you like to honor them? Then nominate them for the Beta Phi Mu Librarian of the Year Award!

Beta Phi Mu- Beta Kappa Chapter Librarian of the Year Award is granted to librarians across Alabama who have made a significant contribution to librarianship over the course of their career. This award goes to Public, School, Academic or special librarians. As an organization, Beta Phi Mu strives to recognize and honor librarians who have made on mark on the people around them through service and scholarship. The chapter’s nomination committee will make a selection based on these criteria. Please see our website for past Librarians of the Year! (

The Beta Phi Mu Librarian of the Year:

1. has a professional degree in one of the fields of library science
2. has lived in Alabama for a minimum of 5 years and during that time must have held a professional library position
3. has made an exceptional contribution to the development of professionalism among Alabama librarians
4. has actively contributed to the profession through publishing, professional association work, research and/or leadership within their community.

We welcome your nominations and look forward to hearing from you!

To nominate a librarian for this award, please fill out this form with a short testimonial!


Congratulations to Wendy Stephens, Beta Kappa Chapter’s Librarian of the Year!

Beta Kappa Chapter is overjoyed this year to announce our librarian of the year, Dr. Wendy Stephens. Wendy’s contribution to the state and to the profession through her work with School Media Specialists in Alabama has made our state a better place.

For most of the past decade, Wendy has worked as a school media specialist at Buckhorn High School and then as district coordinator and school librarian at Cullman High School. During this time, she also served in various roles of state and national leadership, including president of the Alabama Library Association during 2015. She has been recognized for her excellence in library media work nationally, including by The Educators of School Librarians Section of the American Association of School Librarians.

I want to share with you some things that Wendy’s state colleagues have said:

“Even amidst the important roles Wendy plays on the state and national level, she always finds time to help with the little stuff. She will go out of her way to recognize her peers for their contributions”

“She continues to represent Alabama well with her trademark energy and enthusiasm for allowing the student’s voice to shine through all aspects of the school library program…and the best thing is, it seems like she’s just getting started on the impact she will make on school libraries and LIS education!”

“When it comes to writing letters to honor other people, Wendy is always ready to help, but she doesn’t seek recognition for her own work.”

Wendy has recently accepted the position of Chair of the Library Media Program at Jacksonville State University, and we look forward to seeing her continue to have a positive impact on school media librarianship in the state of Alabama!


Call for Nominations: Librarian of the Year

It is that time of year again, my friends!

Do you know a stellar Alabama librarian? Would you like to honor them? Then follow this link to nominate them for the Beta Phi Mu Librarian of the Year Award!

Nominees to not have to be members of Beta Phi Mu to win this award. One of Beta Phi Mu’s objectives is to honor librarians who we feel embody our motto  Aliis inserviendo consumor, meaning “Consumed in the service of others.”

Please help us recognize those dedicated and passionate leaders in our state by nominating them for Librarian of the Year!

Beta Phi Mu Librarian of the Year


Congratulations to Professor Sybil Bullock, 2015 Beta Kappa Chapter Librarian of the Year!

2015 Beta Kappa Chapter Librarian of the Year recipient Professor Sybil Bullcock and Chapter President Sara Maurice Whitver

2015 Beta Kappa Chapter Librarian of the Year recipient Professor Sybil Bullcock and Chapter President Sara Maurice Whitver

It is an honor and a privilege to announce that our 2015 Beta Kappa Chapter Librarian of the Year award goes to Professor Sybil Bullock. Professor Bullock has touched so many lives and made such a difference in the landscape of Alabama Libraries.

Professor Sybil Bullock, thank you for everything you have done for us!

After graduating from UA SLIS, Sybil accepted a position directing the scientific and technical research center at Redstone Arsenal (RSIC) in Huntsville. Upon retiring from that position, she returned to school to get an Ed. S and began adjuncting at SLIS, as well as serving as a consultant for medical libraries across the country. In her work in federal and medical libraries, Sybil has developed an amazing network that she draws on to benefit UA SLIS students interested in special, science, and medical librarianship.

I first worked with Sybil as a SLIS student seeking an internship. I actually completed 2 internships, both facilitated by Sybil. Both were incredible learning experiences. From the moment of contact with Sybil to the last detail of paperwork, my experience was simple and straight-forward. I knew what I had to do to register, and what I had to turn in. The facilitation of the logistics of my internships made it easy for me to focus on the content of the internships, and really have authentic learning experiences.

Since then, I have worked with Sybil almost every semester, hosting interns. the internship experience was so valuable to me that I wanted to pay it forward. And in every case, Sybil has made the hosting experience incredibly easy. My interns have never had any trouble  getting registered. I always have plenty of notice on evaluation due dates. Everything goes so smoothly. And I am impressed, because I know she facilitates a number of internships every semester and during the summer.

I want to share with you some of the praise I received from Professor Bullock’s colleagues and students who admire you so much. One of your colleagues says:

An advocate for special librarians, particularly those with interests in science, technology, engineering, and medicine (STEM), Ms. Bullock has mentored many beginners and coached numerous mid-career librarians…If positive influence in Alabama librarianship is a criterion for this award, there is no more deserving candidate for this honor than Sybil H. Bullock.


Another writes:

Sybil is a powerhouse in the classroom.  She brings to students her extensive experience as a special librarian in a number of science/ technology settings [Director, Redstone Scientific Information Center @ Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL; ARMY Aeromedical Research Lab, Fort Rucker, AL; and others].  She is dynamic in her presentation style and her personality is as commanding as her experience in the field.  There is no mistaking her southern roots, or her allegiance to The University of Alabama and their athletic teams.  Her contribution to my personal education was significant, and I know she continues to deliver great value to her students at SLIS.


One student who wrote us says:

I can’t speak highly enough of Dr. Bullock – I am not the only student who has leaned on her extensively for support with school projects, personal research, student groups, internship placement, job searching, interview preparation, on-campus issues, etc., etc., etc.


We heard from many others who shared equal enthusiasm and praise for the work that Sybil Bullock does. To this end, it is my pleasure to name you Beta Phi Mu Beta Kappa’s 2015 Librarian of the Year, in recognition of your steadfast commitment and loyalty to UA’s SLIS students and alumni, and to librarians across Alabama.

2014 Librarian of the Year: Pat Ryan

It is with great pleasure that we announce our 2014 Librarian of the Year, Patricia Ryan.

2014 Beta Kappa Chapter Librarian of the Year Pat Ryan

Past-President Carrie Steinmehl, Librarian of the Year Pat Ryan, and Current President Nancy DuPree at SLIS Honors Day, 4 April 2014.

Pat Ryan has been a mover and a shaker in Alabama public libraries for the past 30 years. She began her career at Hoover Public Library, but she is most known and loved for the work she has done with the organization Public Libraries in Jefferson County (formerly Jefferson County Library Cooperative). Through the cooperative, Pat has done some amazing things. Included in her nomination packet were personal stories from area library directors who told stories of Pat taking time to meet with them to consult on difficult decisions, accompanying them to board meetings, advising them in areas of uncertainty, and generally always being there if they needed her. Pat is a true friend to all the many libraries in Jefferson County.

Pat has been involved in grant writing and implementation, including the Gates Foundation Technology Initiative in 1998 which brought the first computers for patron access to Jefferson County, and two years of NEH Big Reads. Her nomination packet noted her dedication to grant writing and her endless energy for seeking funding and support for the cooperative as well as individual libraries.

While Pat has steadfastly assisted the libraries of Jefferson County her entire career, she is most beloved for the incredible job that she did in keeping the cooperative together and running during Jefferson County’s 2011 financial crisis. During this time, the county cut 100% of the cooperative’s funding (approximately 1 million dollars), and Pat Ryan FOUND A WAY to keep things running by shrewdly reorganizing things and seeking new funding sources. Pat was able to generate thousands of dollars in support  from patrons and corporate sponsors. In 2013, she was able to secure $101,000 in capitol funding for technology improvement for cooperative member libraries, and to sustain the automation system that the cooperative shares.

Pat, we honor you for your dedication to libraries and your passion for granting access to information to millions of people in the Public Libraries of Jefferson County! You are an inspiration to librarians and library school students all across our state. Congratulations!

Congratulations, Brett Spencer, Our Librarian of the Year!

It is with great pleasure that Beta Phi Mu Beta Kappa Chapter present this year’s Librarian of the Year award to Brett Spencer.

Many of you know Brett, but for those of you who do not, let me tell you a bit about him.

Brett has been an Information Services Librarian at Gorgas Library at The University of Alabama for the past 12 years, where he liaises with the departments of History and Criminal Justice, as well as the Graduate School and the McNair Scholars Program. Brett is highly regarded by his colleagues far and wide, and according to his department head “is known as  a superb instructor and receives accolades from both faculty and graduate students.”

While Brett’s reputation as a librarian is beyond stellar, it is his service to the profession through the mentorship of young librarians that really stood out for us when considering him for this award. Over the past 12 years, Brett has been a key part of the grooming and preparation of young librarians across this state as the graduate assistants supervisor for Gorgas Information Services. In this role, Brett has worked with 1-4, and sometimes 5 UA SLIS students each semester, instructing them in reference, specialized database searching, library instruction, and collection development.  Under Brett’s guidance, graduate student assistants participate in these departmental activities along side professional librarians, gaining real world experience.

The students Brett has worked with are far flung across the United States, and hold jobs in a  variety of different types of libraries. When we inquired about the employment status of his former students, it seemed pretty clear that they are all gainfully employed, some with great amounts of responsibility. And they all credit him with giving them the practical experience they needed to succeed. When we asked some of Brett’s former mentees about him, they flooded us with tales of Brett’s influence on their careers. Lauren Dodd of Fairchild Research Information Center wrote “While I have been fortunate to work with several amazing librarian mentors since my entry to UA SLIS in 2009, none have had the impact on my career that Brett has.” Rachel Renick of Millsaps College wrote “Brett Spencer helps so many people without asking for anything in return. He deserves to be recognized for all he has done to help library patrons, library students and librarians.”

Brett’s CV is filled with peer-review articles, conference papers and poster sessions. The remarkable thing about his CV is that it chronicles the history of collaboration he has with the SLIS students that he mentors.  Each year, Brett’s students participate in conference presentations and poster presentations based on the work they do with him. Many of those presentations are followed through as papers, giving these freshly-minted librarians the solid experience of publishing a paper at the very beginning of their career.

It is for this service to young librarians in the state of Alabama that we have chosen Brett Spencer as the 2013 Beta Phi Mu Beta Kappa Chapter Librarian of the Year. Congratulations, Brett!

2012 Librarian of the Year: Jodi Poe

 Congratulations, Jodi Poe, Beta Kappa Chapter’s 2012 Librarian of the Year Award recipient!

From Carrie Steinmehl, Beta Kappa Chapter President, 2010-2012: 

It is my distinct honor as President of the Beta Kappa Chapter of Beta Phi Mu to present the 2012 Librarian of the Year Award to Jodi Poe, Head of Technical Services of the Houston Cole Library at Jacksonville State University.

I first met Jodi at a Beta Phi Mu annual meeting, when she was the secretary of our Chapter.  I thought that she was so cool and she inspired me to want to do more for our chapter.  I was even more impressed with her when I saw how involved she was in the Alabama Library Association and I did not hesitate to vote for her to serve on the association’s executive council.  I am not the only one who recognizes her as being a true professional and leader in our profession.  Those who nominated her, Kent Snowden, Heather Cover, Dean John-Bauer Graham, Harry Nuttall, Tim Dodge, Bonnie Lee and Dennis Nichols, all attest to the fact that she is one of the most dedicated, hard-working, forceful and competent librarians in our state.

The Librarian of the Year Award recognizes and honors librarians who have made an exceptional contribution to the development of professionalism among Alabama librarians.  Jodi’s 67-page Curriculum Vitae details her roles as workshop presenter and attendee, as well as her roles in many professional organizations, such as the Alabama Library Association, Alabama Association of College and Research Libraries, Center for Intellectual Property Member Community, Higher Education Partnership, International Webmasters Association, the Library School Association (LSA) Board for University of Alabama School of Library & Information Studies, and Network of Alabama Academic Libraries, just to name a few.

Jodi has also provided professional services by speaking and writing on the subject of librarianship.  She served on the AVL Training Committee, as Editor of the Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, and as a manuscript reviewer for Journal of Web Librarianship and The Southeastern Librarian.

In her nomination letter, Heather Cover described how Jodi took her under her wing while serving on the ALLA executive council and instilled in her the importance of giving back to the library profession, adding “[Jodi] has done the same for countless other librarians, not just one on one but by being an unknowing example of participation and dedication.”  Also, Dean Graham noted that Jodi is one of the few faculty members at Jacksonville State University who understands how commitment to service and attention to scholarship are supposed to work for the greater good of the University.  He adds: “She is selfless, diligent and completely unfaltering in her role as an academic librarian.”

For these and for so many more reasons, Jodi Poe truly deserves the 2012 Beta Phi Mu Beta Kappa Chapter Librarian of the Year Award.