Lian Ruan (MS '90, PhD '11) is the 2017 recipient of the Illinois Library Association (ILA) Illinois Academic Librarian of the Year Award. The award, presented by the ILA Illinois Association of College and Research Libraries (IACRL) 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.
Ruan's service record is most impressive. Of particular note are her contributions as past president (2015-2016) and current executive director of the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA). She has also recently served on the Illinois State Library Advisory Committee, the Special Library Association's Emergency Preparedness and Recovery Council, the ACRL 75th Anniversary Celebration Task Force, and as a member of the Joint Council of Librarians of Color Steering Committee.
Ruan has been an academic librarian for twenty-seven years and Head of the Illinois Fire Service Institute Library (IFSI) since 1999, earning the directorship of IFSI's international programs in 2006. Under her leadership, the IFSI Library has been a finalist for a National Medal for Museum and Library Service award for the last two years. The IFSI is considered one of the top three fire services libraries in the nation. This past year, the Institute of Museum and Library Services recognized her Firefighter Line of Duty Death Digital Image Collection, which was awarded funding through the Illinois State Library.
Since 2002, Ruan has been an adjunct lecturer in the iSchool, supporting and mentoring the work of library and information science students. Ruan has also organized and coordinated training programs at IFSI with partners in the area of emergency management, including training for emergency responders from China and Korea.
Ruan has done extensive work as a researcher. Most notable is her recent co-edited book, Academic Library Development and Administration in China (2016), which is the first major work on Chinese academic libraries written in English.
Three years ago in a spotlight interview for ACRL Insider, Ruan described herself as "Passionate, determined, [and] goal-oriented." Her exemplary service to librarianship and learning demonstrates the application of each of these qualities to the work that makes her worthy of this honor. The Illinois Academic Librarian of the Year Award will be presented at the Awards Luncheon held on Tuesday, October 10, during the 2017 Illinois Library Association Annual Conference in Tinley Park.