Assistant Professor Nicole A. Cooke is the 2016 recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) Equality Award. The annual award—$1,000 and a framed citation of achievement donated by Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group—is given to an individual or group for outstanding contributions toward promoting equality in the library profession. Cooke’s award will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando on June 26, 2016.
The jury noted that throughout her career, Cooke has been a passionate advocate for equity and has spearheaded diversity initiatives within the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) and at her home institution. In particular, the members were impressed with Cooke’s extensive record of publications and dedicated social-justice oriented approach to her teaching, both of which indicate the far-reaching impact that her personal commitment to equality has on the rest of the profession, as well as future colleagues.
As nominator Trevar Riley-Reid stated, "Dr. Cooke has been a staunch champion for inclusion and has led the charge in changing the education of librarians to make them better able to serve those, who to date, have been unserved or underserved—the rapidly emerging majority of Americans who are people of color."
In addition to her role as assistant professor at GSLIS, Cooke is a faculty affiliate in the Center for Digital Inclusion. Her research interests include human information behavior, particularly in an online context, eLearning, and diversity and social justice in librarianship. She has published articles in journals including The Library Quarterly, Library & Information Science Research, InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information, Polymath: An Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Journal, Information Research, The Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, The New Review of Academic Librarianship, and The Library and Book Trade Almanac 2013. Cooke also coauthored Instructional Strategies and Techniques for Information Professionals (Chandos Press, 2012).
Named a Mover & Shaker in 2007 by Library Journal, Cooke is professionally active in ACRL, ALISE, and several other professional library organizations. She holds an MLS degree from Rutgers University, an M.Ed. in Adult Education from Penn State, and a PhD in communication, information, and library studies from Rutgers University, where she was an ALA Spectrum Doctoral Fellow.