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Robert Randolph Newlen wins Lippincott Award

CHICAGO — Robert Randolph Newlen is the recipient of the 2021 Joseph W. Lippincott Award. This award is sponsored by Joseph W. Lippincott III and presented by the American Library Association (ALA) for distinguished service in the profession of librarianship.

The Jury for the 2021 Joseph W. Lippincott Award is delighted to honor Newlen for his many accomplishments during a long, varied and distinguished career  at the Library of Congress.

He retired from his position as deputy librarian of Congress after 43 years of service.  He currently serves as the executive director of the Dwight D. Opperman Foundation.

Among the achievements specifically noted by the Lippincott Jury and many colleagues who wrote in support of this award are his enduring, varied, and effective service to the ALA, and thus to the entire American library profession. He has been tireless as a role model and mentor for countless colleagues, particularly new professionals. His commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion within both our association and our profession at large, and his long-term leadership and commitment to keeping the ALA financially healthy through service as an ALA Endowment Trustee and member of the Philanthropy Advisory Group, resulted in inestimable and significant contributions.

Numerous colleagues wrote in support of his selection for this high honor, overwhelmingly describing him as a “shining example,” with “immeasurable impact,” who “exhibits all the traits of distinguished service.” One colleague wrote, “Robert’s advice is candid but gently delivered, wise but never patronizing, without political or personal agenda, from a place of deep and sincere connection that few people exhibit.”  Another wrote, “Robert’s commitment to me and to other librarians of color to become involved in the ALA governance and leadership is…a tangible example of his dedication to equity, diversity, and inclusion.” Taken together, these achievements and traits demonstrate exemplary “distinguished service to the profession of librarianship” that the Lippincott Award was established to honor.  

The annual award, consisting of $1,500 and a citation of achievement, will be presented on Sunday, June 27, 2021 at the ALA virtual Annual Conference. 

Members of the Joseph W. Lippincott Award are: Chair, Winston Tabb; Sheridan dean of University Libraries & Museum, John Hopkins University Sheridan Libraries, Baltimore, Maryland; Kristin Buxton, University of Oregon, Eugene Oregon; Amanda Carr, collection development librarian. 

More information about the Lippincott Award, including how to submit a nomination, is available at the ALA website, 


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