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Wendy Newman Librarian Leadership Award Created to Support iSchool Alumni

Submitted on Tuesday, June 09, 2015

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When someone retires, they normally receive various gifts and other tokens of appreciation from colleagues, family, and friends.

Wendy Newman, Senior Fellow and Lecturer at the Faculty of Information, will leave the iSchool at the end of June after more than ten years here. But rather than simply being on the receiving end of retirement celebrations, Wendy has plans to give something significant back to her professional community.

Newman has begun a campaign to establish a Librarian Leadership Award, which will provide financial support to iSchool alumni undertaking further leadership development opportunities. The goal of the campaign is to create a $50,000 endowed award. Newman’s family has agreed to match donations to this effort, up to a total of $25,000.

“Our Faculty has a long and distinguished tradition of educating leaders in librarianship,” Newman wrote in a letter to her colleagues. “Leadership development remains essential to any thriving future I can imagine for our libraries and the communities they serve, and for the public policy advocacy that safeguards the timeless values we champion. I want to ensure that more of my fellow alumni have access to intensive leadership development programs after they’ve graduated.”

In order to ensure that these opportunities remain accessible to as many iSchool alumni as possible, Newman is calling on the assistance of iSchool faculty, staff, and community members.

“I feel tremendously privileged to have been part of a professional community that shared my passion these many years,” Newman wrote to her colleagues. “I am deeply grateful for the support I have received in the endeavours I undertook on behalf of the profession and our communities. I hope you will join me once more to make the award a reality.”

Newman joined the Faculty of Information in 2004 and became Senior Fellow in 2006. Over the past decade, she has instructed many courses in Advocacy and Library Issues, including the Faculty’s first massive open online course (MOOC).

“Wendy Newman is a passionate advocate for libraries and librarianship in the public policy arena, and has played a crucial role in the evolution of the iSchool, heightening our profile with her initiatives. She is also a much beloved lecturer who taught and mentored generations of students in the library and information science stream, while serving as an ambassador between the Faculty and the professional and employer communities,” says Professor and Dean, Dr Seamus Ross.

Newman also had a hand in creating one of the leadership programs in which future recipients of the Library Leadership Award may choose to participate. Newman recently helped to form the iSchool’s Public Library Leadership Fellows Program (PLLF), which is sponsored by the Canadian Urban Libraries Council.

The executive leadership program engages and supports emerging senior library administrators, and connects participants with current library leaders and chief executive officers. The program’s second cohort of Fellows “is poised to lead Canadian Librarianship into the future.”

Other leadership development programs that iSchool graduates may choose to pursue include Northern Exposure to Leadership, the Advancing Public Library Leadership Institute, and the Association of Research Libraries Leadership Fellows Program.

For Newman, her appointment at the iSchool followed more than 30 years of library leadership and public library advocacy. She is a former President of the Canadian Library Association (2002-2003) and the Canadian Association of Public Libraries (1999-2000).

Anyone wishing to donate to the Wendy Newman Library Leadership Award may do so at https://donate.utoronto.ca/give/show/13. Questions can be directed to Audrey M. Johnson, Senior Development Officer at the iSchool: am.johnson@utoronto.ca.

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