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(FORT WAYNE, IN) – The Allen County Public Library (ACPL) is pleased to announce that longtime librarian, genealogist, and leader Curt Witcher has been awarded one of ten prestigious national I Love My Librarian Award for Outstanding Public Service. Honorees are exceptional librarians from academic, public, and school libraries who were nominated by patrons nationwide for their expertise, dedication and profound impact on the people in their communities.

“This award is the epitome of recognition for librarians across the country and is only awarded to public servants who truly stand out,” said ACPL Executive Director Susan P. Baier. “It will come as no surprise to the Allen County community that our own Curt Witcher is being honored in this way. His forty-four years of dedication, leadership, and kindness echo throughout the stacks of this library. I cannot imagine a more deserving recipient.”

Witcher is the ACPL’s Director of Special Collections and the Genealogy Center Manager which draws thousands of visitors each year. His decades of work in African American and Jewish genealogy, Native American research, and more have helped cultivate one of the largest genealogy collections in the country and positioned it as an international destination for researchers. Witcher has supported the founding of local genealogy societies, forged partnerships with FamilySearch and the Internet Archive to make public domain portions of the center’s collection accessible online, and collaborated with college professors build a literature and genealogy course.

Nearly 1,400 librarians were nominated from across the country for the award. Submissions focused on librarians’ outstanding service, including expanding access to literacy and library services, outreach within their communities, and more. Witcher’s nomination included information from staff, patrons, and community leaders eager to express their love for their librarian.

According to the staff at Visit Fort Wayne:

“Curt is a nationwide leader in his industry, while keeping his passion for every single patron who walks through their doors. Even while speaking at national conferences and being called on as a leading expert in his field, he never forgets that family histories are a personal endeavor, and he treats each person’s story with care and special consideration.”

Honorees will each receive a $5,000 cash prize as well as complimentary registration and a $750 travel stipend to attend ALA’s LibLearnX event in Baltimore. Witcher plans to gift his cash prize to the Genealogy Center’s gift fund. The award ceremony will take place during the LibLearnX welcome reception beginning at 6:00 p.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 19, 2024, and will stream live on YouTube.

The additional 2024 honorees are:

  • Melissa Corey – Robidoux Middle School, St. Joseph, Missouri

  • Claire Dannenbaum – Lane Community College, Eugene, Oregon

  • Fred Gitner – Queens Public Library, Jamaica, New York

  • Clare Graham – Malvern-Hot Spring County Library, Malvern, Arkansas

  • Gabriel Graña – R.D. & Euzelle Smith Middle School, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

  • Diana Haneski – Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida

  • Gladys E. López-Soto – University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico

  • Ted Quiballo – Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

  • Mychal Threets – Solano County Library, Fairfield, California

Since the award’s inception in 2008, library users have shared more than 24,000 nominations detailing how librarians have gone above and beyond to promote literacy, expand access to technology, and support diversity and inclusion in their communities. Information regarding previous award recipients can be found on the I Love My Librarian website.

The Carnegie Corporation of New York generously sponsors the I Love My Librarian Award, with additional support from The New York Public Library. The award is administered by the American Library Association.

About the ACPL

The Allen County Public Library has fostered lifelong learning and discovery in northeast Indiana for more than 125 years. The ACPL consists of fourteen branches throughout Allen County, serving more than one million visitors per year. The ACPL’s collection includes more than 2.7 million items, with a circulation total of 3.6 million items borrowed annually. It also houses The Genealogy Center, the nation’s largest public genealogy research center, and The Rolland Center for Lincoln Research, consisting of more than 20,000 artifacts related to President Abraham Lincoln.



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