CHICAGO — The American Library Association has selected John Paul Mahofski as one of its 10 “I Love My Librarian” award winners. “Mr. M” is the librarian at Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover and for being an honoree receives a $5,000 cash prize, a $750 donation for the library and a complimentary registration to the ALA’s LibLearnX program.
ALA received more than 1,300 nominations from library users for this year’s award. Hundreds of nominations focused on librarians’ swift and effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic, from hosting virtual programs to distributing books and technology safely to those in need.
This year’s award recipients include three academic librarians, four public librarians and three school librarians.
At the prison library Mr. Mahofski introduced an array of programs that improved library and information services, including creative writing, typing and summer reading programs — and a “Bookmobile” to deliver books three times a week when the library was unavailable to patrons due to the coronavirus.
One inmate wrote, "To Mr. ‘M,’ which is what most men call him…we all were valued patrons of the library, and he does everything in his power to make the brief time we have in the library an enjoyable and useful experience."
A virtual award ceremony is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22 livestreamed on https://www.youtube.com/user/AmLibraryAssociation.
“Even in these unprecedented times, our nation’s librarians continue to empower their patrons, promote inclusion in their space and collections, and provide essential services for their communities,” said American Library Association President Patty Wong. “Congratulations to this year’s I Love My Librarian Award winners, who impact the lives of those they serve every day.”
Carnegie Corporation of New York sponsors the I Love My Librarian Award which is also supported by the New York Public Library. ALA administers the award through its Communications and Marketing Office.