Congratulations to Ed Garcia, director of the Cranston Public Library, for being awarded the 2021 Emerson Greenaway Award by the New England Library Association!
Each year NELA awards the Emerson Greenaway Award to an individual who has provided distinguished service in librarianship. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NELA made the decision not to present this award in 2020. As a result, two outstanding individuals are presented with this honor in 2021: Jennifer Alvino and Ed Garcia.
Jennifer Alvino: Director of the Windham Public Library in Windham, Maine
By the time Jen graduated with an MS in Library and Information Services in 2008 from Simmons College, she had already dedicated many years to working in public libraries. She began her career in 1994 as a Page at the Portland Public Library. Since then, she has held a variety of positions, from office assistant, substitute, and Lending Services and Systems Coordinator in Portland, to Technology Coordinator, Head of Lending Services, and Interim Assistant Director at the Walker Memorial Library, before becoming the Director of the Windham Public Library in 2013.
Jen’s influence as a librarian extends well beyond her service area. She has made significant contributions to the Maine Library Association as a longtime active member, recently serving as the Association President from 2019-2021. MLA named her Outstanding Librarian of the year in 2014. Jen has also been active in the American Library Association for many years, was the ALA Maine Chapter Councilor from 2014-2017, and has been active on many committees.
In addition to her many achievements, Jen is described by her colleagues as collaborative, thoughtful, dedicated, humble in her leadership, and generous with her time. As a former New England Library Leadership Symposium attendee and former ALA Leadership Institute graduate, Jen freely gives her time to mentor students and colleagues whenever they need guidance. She is a fierce advocate, having been instrumental in guiding a team that championed students’ right to read in response to adverse legislation proposed in Maine in 2019. Jen’s successful work in defeating this legislation was important and instructive for other states’ efforts to defeat similar legislation. Library workers across the country, but in particular those within the New England region, benefit greatly from the selfless work Jen has done over the course of her career.
Edward Garcia: Director of the Cranston Public Library in Cranston, RI
Ed has made an enormous impact on libraries in Rhode Island and across the country since graduating from the University of Rhode Island’s GLIS program. He started as the Assistant Director of the Adams Memorial Library in 2008, but has since spent the majority of his career in Cranston, serving as the Information Access Librarian, Technology Coordinator, and has been the Director since 2012. Ed was the first library in the state to go fine-free for teens and children, providing framework for other libraries in the state to follow suit, thus removing barriers to library access among RI youth. Under Ed’s leadership, the Cranston Public Library was the winner of the Jerry Kline Community Impact Prize.
Ed has been an active member of the Rhode Island Library Association for many years and served as the President of the Ocean State Libraries from 2014-2017. Ed has also served as a member of the American Library Association’s executive board since 2018, where he is lauded for his ability to guide discussions towards productive outcomes, and for his ability to bring people with strong and opposing viewpoints together.
Ed is known among his staff, colleagues, and friends for his strong leadership, collaborative spirit, and his willingness to help develop young talent. Ed freely shares his knowledge and willingly mentors those within his circle, and is known to be fair-minded, forward-thinking, generous, humble and likable. He is a dedicated librarian with a strong collaborative vision. Ed is always the first to acknowledge and praise the contributions of others, preferring not to stand in the spotlight alone. He is a true leader who has had a positive impact on libraries both within the New England region and around the country.
Please join the Rhode Island Library Association and New England Library Association in thanking both Jen Alvino and Ed Garcia for their outstanding contributions to libraries over the course of their careers. They will be presented with the distinguished Emerson Greenaway Award at the NELA conference on October 18th, 2021.