College’s Library Director Named Academic Librarian of the Year

August 11, 2014 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

Susan Swords Steffen, director of the A.C. Buehler Library at Elmhurst College, has been named the 2014 recipient of the Illinois Library Association’s Illinois Academic Librarian of the Year Award.

The award, presented by the ILA Illinois Association of College and Research Libraries Forum, recognizes an Illinois librarian who is making an outstanding statewide contribution to academic or research librarianship and to library development. The award is sponsored by the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois.

Susan Swords Steffen has made a strong and vibrant mark on Illinois academic librarianship through her dedication, leadership and mentoring relationships, her highly active service to the profession, and her research, according to a statement from the Illinois Library Association.

While leading the A.C. Buehler Library, Swords Steffen has developed and mentored a team of librarians who are dedicated in their service to their library, their college and their profession. Long before the practice became common, Swords Steffen was placing “embedded librarians” into the teaching and learning infrastructure at Elmhurst College.

“I am extremely honored to be recognized with the Illinois Academic Librarian of the Year Award,” she said. “Over the course of my career, I have been fortunate to work with so many bright and dedicated academic librarians across the state of Illinois, and most especially with the excellent staff of the A.C. Buehler Library. Together we have been able to create and deliver exceptional library services to the Illinois academic community, and I am very proud of that work.”

In 2010, the most prestigious professional association for college libraries named the A.C. Buehler Library, under Swords Steffen’s leadership, the winner of its Excellence in Academic Libraries Award. The annual award, sponsored by the Association of College & Research Libraries and Blackwell’s Book Services, is a national tribute to a library and its staff for the outstanding services, programs and leadership they provide to their students, faculty, administrators and community.

As a highly engaged leader, Swords Steffen has her finger on the pulse of Illinois libraries. She understands the ecosystem of Illinois academic libraries and is willing to help colleagues navigate the complicated balance within it. As stated in her nomination, “She has infused the group with energy and momentum. Her determination to encourage the next generation of academic leaders in Illinois libraries to step forward and take the reins is noteworthy.”

The Illinois Academic Librarian of the Year Award will be presented at the Illinois Library Association Annual Conference Awards Luncheon, held in October.

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