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Farmer Given Beta Phi Mu Award

Published: April 15, 2011

Lesley Farmer, professor and Librarianship Program coordinator at CSULB, has been named this year’s recipient of the Beta Phi Mu Award by the American Library Association (ALA).

The annual award, donated by the Beta Phi Mu International Library Science Honorary Society, is presented to a library school faculty member or to an individual for distinguished service to education in librarianship.

Farmer will be presented with the award, which includes $1,000 and a 24k gold-framed citation at the American Library Association’s inaugural banquet and ball on June 28 in New Orleans.

“It is very gratifying to have my hard work over the years publicly recognized, especially because my heart is in school librarianship, which does not always get the respect it deserves,” said Farmer, who said she received the news of her selection via e-mail while writing at home. “The judges seemed impressed with my students’ sincere appreciation of my efforts and caring. They also noted how I keep my courses current, add innovations such as technology advances, and mentor actively.”

The judges also mentioned her impressive publication list including more than 20 books, as well as chapters and articles. Her writing often is linked to the settings she researches, which further increases the impact of her work. Praised as being forward thinking, Farmer is currently examining young people, especially girls and technology.

In selecting her for the award, the ALA jury was impressed with Farmer’s commitment to working with her students and preparing them to be teacher librarians.

“In an era when many school libraries are staffed by untrained clerks, Dr. Farmer’s dedication to preparing teacher librarians for their special relationships with both students and teachers is exemplary,” the judges said. “At California State University at Long Beach, Dr. Farmer helps students who have diverse and varied life experiences become Teacher Librarians…(and) her support continues long after graduation, as she mentors many of them both in their jobs and in getting them involved in national and California-based library organizations.”

The jury also pointed out how the library media curriculum that Farmer coordinates has attracted considerable positive attention. It includes such initiatives as service learning, the use of many different kinds of technology and even an interactive book repair workshop.

Lesley Farmer, professor and Librarianship Program coordinator at CSULB
Lesley Farmer

“Her program was commended by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education as follows: ‘The [CSULB] program provides leadership not only on the campus but throughout the country and internationally,’” the ALA wrote in its press release announcing the award. “In the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing review, Dr. Farmer’s curriculum was praised ‘…as an outstanding example of advanced preparation.’”

A resident of Los Alamitos, Farmer earned her B.A. in English from Whitman College and her master’s in library science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After serving a term in the Peace Corps in Tunisia, she received her doctorate from Temple University in 1981. She has been on the faculty at CSULB since 1999.

Members of the 2011 Beta Phi Mu Award Jury were Ann Zeidman-Karpinski, University of Oregon (chair); Emily Bergman, Occidental College; Samantha Hines, University of Montana; Teri Switzer, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs; and Rod Hersberger, California State University, Bakersfield.

–Rick Gloady