IU East’s Library director receives prestigious national award for outstanding public service

December 3, 2014 |

Indiana University East Director of the Campus Library Frances Yates was one of 10 librarians to receive the prestigious Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award. The award was presented December 2 in New York City.FrancesYates1

Yates was selected from a pool of 1,000 nominees. Each year, 10 individuals are selected to receive the award, which recognizes those who demonstrate the critical role librarians play in transforming lives and communities through education and lifelong learning. Award honorees receive $5,000, a plaque and a travel stipend to attend the awards ceremony and reception in New York City, hosted by The New York Times.

The award is administered through the American Library Association, through its Campaign for America’s Libraries to promote the value of libraries and librarians.

IU East Chancellor Kathryn Cruz-Uribe said she is pleased to see Yates recognized for her efforts to provide an environment of learning and service to the community.

“Frances brings experience, creativity and enthusiasm to her profession and to the IU East Library. She strives to make the Library an inviting space for our students, faculty and staff while working tirelessly to improve the services and opportunities needed to enhance every student’s educational experience,” Cruz-Uribe said. “I thank Frances for the many initiatives that she oversees or develops for the betterment and improvement of everyone in the community.”

Yates said her love of libraries began at the preschool storytime at the Highland, Ind., branch of the Lake County Public Library. The branch is where Yates held her first library job; she worked as a shelver.

“Growing up, I lived in a world of books, and it seems natural that I work in a world of reading and learning,” Yates said. “I really want to express my sincere appreciation for all the people who use libraries, who read, and who know how cool it is to be a librarian. Because most librarians I know love doing what they do, in part, because the people they serve love libraries. And it’s certainly an added bonus when someone takes the time to express that love,” Yates said.

Yates joined IU East in July 2009 as the director of the Campus Library. Previously, Yates was a librarian at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Education, specializing in communications, from Purdue University. She received her master’s and specialist degrees in Library and Information Science from Indiana University.

Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Larry Richards said, “I regard Frances to be a leader in mapping out the future of university libraries. While insistent on the role of library as a place, she also recognizes the ubiquity of information and knowledge in the era of the Internet. As a place, a Library needs to provide a friendly, welcoming and helpful environment for all users, a place where they can get the personal attention that they cannot get online, and Frances has done that at IU East. I greatly appreciate her efforts and congratulate her on this award.”

The nomination letter submitted to ALA recognizes several of the initiatives and activities Yates has spearheaded while at IU East, many involving improving the library space and collection and research materials available for students and faculty as well as service-learning programs and projects, leadership and customer service. In recognition of Yates’ contributions to service-learning, she was the recipient of this year’s Campus Spirit of Philanthropy Award during the 2014 Spirit of Philanthropy Luncheon held October 22.

Among Yates’ many noted accomplishments in the award nomination are:

  • Playing an active role in promoting the Library and positioning the department as an integral component to the campus’ strategic plan.
  • Fully committing to the Library mission for providing resources and services that support the academic engagement and research of diverse participants in IU East’s teaching and learning community.
  • Encouraging Library staff to continue professional development and education as well as to serve as mentors by providing students with internships, which has lead to several literacy programs for students grades K-12, and the creation of student-friendly learning spaces including a Library Living Room, providing a comfortable, dorm-room like space for students to study and remain on campus and engaged in between classes.
  • Developing and updating campus collection of learning materials and added numerous e-book collections, streaming videos, and digitization of archival materials and the active “Ask Us!” campaign to promote the diverse and reliable academic resources available for students and faculty.
  • Providing space for and initiating partnerships with the Early College Program, Third Grade Reading Academy, and most recently, Birth to Five to mentor college students working with parent educators to have monthly family literacy events in the Campus Library.
  • Serving as IU East’s representative to Indiana Campus Compact, a role that provides important state-wide awareness of the campus’ service-learning accomplishments.

Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Ross Alexander said the I Love My Librarian award is well-deserved and exemplifies the innovative efforts and initiatives that Yates has instituted as an academic librarian at IU East.

“Her commitment to providing cutting-edge programs in the library that enrich the learning experiences of our students, faculty, and stakeholders is an inspiration and a model for others in her field and across the academy,” Alexander said. “She cares deeply about our students and the institution. No one works harder than Frances!”