Federal Libraries have always had the authority to grant intangible
prizes. These are prizes and awards that have no value in themselves, but can
have great importance to the receiver. The real purpose of the award is also
to create intangible ribbons (the Golden Chord) of good will between the
library and the awardees. This use of intangibles is one of the secrets of
"Employee of the Month" or "Government Employee of the Month (GEM)"
prizes can lead to such dainties as a special parking place for a month. A
certificate is nice, and this award always looks good on a resume. An annual
"Patron of the Year", "Volunteer of the Year" or "2010 Friend of the Library"
plaque is nice, and recognizes people who help out a bunch, and who are
otherwise unrecognized. One library I know has a list of books that it would
like to have, but usually don't quite have the funds to purchase. The
Employee of the Month is given the choice of selecting one of these books
from the list, which then have a bookplate placed inside saying it was
selected for the library by so-and-so. The money is thus spent on a gift (get
it?), rather than the usual selection process, so the library wins, the
collection wins, the employee (often a technician who often has no authority
in the library) gets to make a selection.
Special titles can also be used, some in fun, some serious. Anyone
can spend some time and money and get a "Master of Library Science", but how
many "Baron of Librarianship" or "Princess of Librarians" certificate holders
do you know? When I worked in Korea, the library staff were terrified of my
supervisor, who as an older woman, was able to lambast anything and anyone
she wanted, and was often very rough with her tongue. She was called "The
Dragon Lady" by the Koreans. Annoyed that my staff paid more attention to her
infrequent visits than they did to me, I had a special nameplate made for my
desk, with the letters "C.D.L." placed after my name. It stood for "Chief
Dragon Librarian." Thirty years later, I still enjoy looking at it.
Many scientists get books on their own, to review for a journal or
for consideration as textbooks in classes, and after reading them pass the
books on to the library as donations. A small brass plaque on a desk or a
special bookplate with their name on it inside each book is a nice reward. Or
simply their photograph framed and put on the library wall.
Federal buildings have strict rules about naming, but rooms, carrels
or stack areas within the library can be named after donors, deceased
librarians (hopefully with rich surviving relatives) or other persons who
helped the library. Indeed, within many agencies, the library has a prime
location for these honors. The US Geological Survey Library, for instance,
named its map collection after Mark Pangborn, who was the map librarian there
during World War II.
A library friends group can often offer a prize instead of the
library. This still keeps the library in the news, and is exempt from many of
the federal regulations on prize giving.
This whole awards thing can come down in ruins if it is seen as brown
nosing to upper management. People up the chain of command should not be
honored; only people down the chain of command, or sideways (patrons not
otherwise part of the hierarchy, for instance) or those outside the
government entirely. What you want to do is to collect friends from outside
the chain of command or even the agency, who will probably support your
library in time of need tomorrow.
Remember, the purpose of these types of prizes are to maintain morale
among the staff, and most importantly, to promote the library. They really
should have a main purpose for publicity and good will toward the library,
which pays off during budget times. The agencies' public affairs office
should always be contacted when one is given, and photographs of the event
made and presented.
My opinions, anyway.
R. Lee Hadden
Geospatial Information Library (Map Library))
U. S. Army Geospatial Center
ATTN: CEAGS-WSG (Hadden)
7701 Telegraph Road
Alexandria, VA 22315-3864
[log in to unmask]
I'm shaving my head to fight cancer on Saturday. Join me in the fight by
going to my webpage at:
From: FEDLIB: Federal Librarians Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Faget, Nancy
Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 7:35 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Which types of challenges and contests can federal libraries
I wonder how federal libraries and information centers can use these types of
contests, prizes, challenges
The White House has issued a memo entitled "Guidance on the Use of Challenges
and Prizes to Promote Open Government". "This memorandum highlights for
agencies policy and legal issues related to the implementation of the Obama
Administration's commitment to increase the use of prizes and challenges as
tools for promoting open government, innovation, and other national