LSAA honors 2016 award recipients

The Library School Alumni Association (LSAA) has announced the 2016 recipients of its annual awards. The recipients were recognized on June 26 at the LSAA Annual Meeting and reception held at the annual meeting of the American Library Association in Orlando.


Sidney Berger (MS '87) is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Each year this award is given to an alum who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of library and information science.

Berger is director emeritus of the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum and an adjunct professor in the iSchool, where he teaches courses on rare books and special collections, including Medieval Codicology: The Medieval Book from Sheep to Shelf; Manufacture, Description, Uses, and Preservation of Paper in the Scholarly World; The Book as Physical Object; and Enumerative, Descriptive, Historical and Textual Bibliography. He is a professor at Simmons College, where he has taught in library and information science, English, and communications. His 2014 book, Rare Books and Special Collections, is recognized as a landmark examination of the topic and was awarded the 2015 ABC-CLIO Award for the Best Book in Library Literature.


Georgeann Burch (MS '04) is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award. Each year this award is given to an individual who has served LSAA or the School in an exceptional way.

Burch served the School as K-12 program coordinator from August 2005 until her retirement on June 1, 2016. Under her direction, the program grew in enrollments, offerings, and reputation. Burch was a trusted mentor for many students, in addition to her responsibilities as a field experience supervisor, teacher, and administrator. The network of alumni and practitioners Burch built throughout her career enabled her to assist students in finding practicum placements and jobs in schools and libraries across the state. Many alumni of the K-12 program have returned to the School to participate in the Summer Getaway professional development program Burch developed. Most recently, she secured approval from the Illinois State Board of Education of a set of courses to qualify students to earn a Technology Specialist Endorsement at the School, opening a new avenue of specialization for our students.


Sarah Park Dahlen (MS '09, PhD '09) is the recipient of the Leadership Award, which is given to an alum who has graduated in the past ten years and shown leadership in the field.

Dahlen is an award-winning assistant professor at St. Catherine University, where she teaches courses on youth materials and library services, storytelling, and library science. Her research addresses transracially adopted Koreans in children’s literature, the information behaviors of adopted Koreans, and diversity in children’s literature and library education. She has contributed significantly to the field via her advocacy for diversity in youth literature. She has published nearly twenty articles reflecting her extensive research on diversity, especially on images of Asian Americans in literature, and coauthored the landmark book, Diversity in Youth Literature: Opening Doors through Reading. She is at the forefront of current initiatives and explorations regarding diversity in children’s books, partnering with the publisher Lee & Low on their groundbreaking research into diversity in the industry and serving as a key player in Association for Library Service to Children’s Day of Diversity.


Jarrett Dapier (MS '15) is the recipient of the Student Award, which recognizes a student who "caught the spirit" of the library and information science profession while employed in a library setting and so chose to enter the master’s program. This student must have a strong commitment to return to a professional position in a library setting and help others "catch the spirit."

Dapier began his master’s studies with a strong commitment to critical inquiry, social justice, and the value of libraries in communities. As a teen services library assistant at the Evanston (IL) Public Library, he recognized a need to better serve teens in diverse populations and pursued the master’s degree to be better equipped to accomplish this. Throughout his coursework he encouraged classmates to think in better, harder ways about how to provide services and programs to young people in libraries and to diverse populations. Outside of class, Dapier garnered national attention for his work in documenting via FOIA requests how the Chicago Public Schools mismanaged the removal of the book Persepolis from its classrooms. This work has earned him an award from the American Library Association and recognition from groups including the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

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