Any user of the Perkins Library System may nominate staff of the system. All nominators will remain anonymous.
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Nomination Deadline: February 16, 2011 at 5:00 PM.
The highest honor the library confers is the Florence Blakely Award, which rewards extraordinary performance that far exceeds individual goals or expectations. It rewards the individual who is innovative, benefits the Duke community, effectively promotes access to information and represents significant savings in time and/or money. These attributes describe Florence Blakely's contributions to Duke libraries and the profession. Many current staff members have not had the opportunity to work with her, so we would like to present a brief summary of her career and accomplishments so that they may become acquainted with her work.
Florence Blakely spent 38 years of her professional life at Duke Libraries. She started at Duke as a reference librarian in 1948 and became the Head of Reference in 1956. Among her responsibilities was that of assisting other staff in building a reference collection adequate to the needs of Duke students, faculty, and an academic research library. She and the excellent reference staff that she directed accumulated an extraordinarily fine reference collection, but in the process, also played a vital role in building the general collections. Her knowledge of the collections and the interests of the faculty led to her elevation to her position as the head of Collection Development in 1979. During her tenure in the library she served on many committees, both internal to the library and organizations such as the Library Council and the Executive Committee of the Friends of the Library. In January 1985 she was appointed as Acting University Librarian. During the following six months the Administration's faith in her abilities were justified. After the new librarian was hired, she returned to her position as head of Collection Development, a position she held until Dec. 31, 1986. (19 years ago!)
Not only was Florence highly regarded at Duke, but she was active in the American Library Association, the Southeastern Library Association, and the North Carolina Library Association as well. At ALA she was energetic in persuading the organization to start the Reference and Adult Services Section and discussion group for the heads of reference of large research libraries. Both of these groups continue to be well attended sessions at ALA meetings. Florence says that a real turning point in her career came in 1970 when she received a fellowship from the Council on Library Resources. She went coast to coast to survey the reference services of 14 large academic libraries. The results of her research were published in RQ.
One of her most significant honors was when she was awarded the Isadore Gilbert Mudge citation for distinguished contributions to reference librarianship. Those who have worked with her at Duke certainly agree that this recognition is entirely appropriate and richly deserved. Part of the citation reads: "by effectively interpreting reference service to the community she serves and through myriad professional activities, Florence Blakely has become the personification of the best in reference librarianship."
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