2017 Fellows Reflect Breadth of Special Librarianship

Look at any class of SLA Fellows and you’ll see a group of active, mid-career SLA members being recognized for their past, present, and future service to the association and the information profession. Look at the 2017 class, and you’ll see something more—a reflection of the breadth of information environments in which special librarians work and the types of services they provide, as well as the leadership opportunities available through SLA.

The 2017 Fellows are Khalilah Gambrell, Richard Huffine, Debal Kar, Tara Murray, and Sara Tompson. They will be honored during the general session on Monday, June 19, at the SLA 2017 Annual Conference in Phoenix.

Khalilah, a marketing technology analyst at EBSCO Information Services, has spent much of her career specializing in website access and usability. In 2015, she presented a poster, “Eliminating Barriers: 7 Best Practices for Creating a User Friendly Library Website,” based on her work conducting usability tests and a survey of college undergraduates on how they conduct research. Her contributed paper, “Remote Usability Testing: A Powerful Tool to Understand Your Users,” has been accepted for presentation at SLA 2017.

In 2016, Khalilah received the SLA New England Chapter’s Distinguished Service Award in recognition of her unwavering dedication to the chapter, exemplified by serving two terms as president. She has also been a member of the Leadership & Management Division, the Membership Committee, and the 2015 Annual Conference Advisory Council.

Debal, the university librarian at Ambedkar University Delhi, is a prolific researcher and writer, with more than two dozen peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters to his credit. He has also helped organize numerous industry meetings and has presented conference papers on topics ranging from information pricing policy to library computerization to managing electronic resources.

Debal has held numerous positions in the SLA Asia Chapter (including two terms as president) and has organized several chapter meetings and conferences. He has worked tirelessly to spearhead the chapter’s growth and to encourage interest in special librarianship and SLA in the 20-plus countries represented by the chapter. He has also encouraged chapter attendance at SLA annual conferences, partly by helping establish two cash awards to defray conference expenses.

Richard is the librarian at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C., having previously worked at the U.S. Geological Survey, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, and the General Services Administration. He has held leadership positions in the District of Columbia Library Association and the Federal and Armed Forces Libraries Round Table of the American Library Association.

Richard was founding chair of SLA’s Government Information Division and chairs the 2018 Annual Conference Advisory Council. From 2010 through 2013, he served on the SLA Board of Directors. In 2008, he received the Dow Jones Leadership Award, which recognizes exemplary leadership as an information professional through personal and professional achievements.

Tara is the director of information services/librarian at the American Philatelic Research Library, where she has worked since 2010. She previously was the information services director at the Population Research Institute at Pennsylvania State University. In addition to her day job, she serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Library Administration and edits a column in the Journal titled “The Specialist.”

Within SLA, Tara has served as president of the SLA Central Pennsylvania Chapter and currently chairs the SLA Social Science Division. She served on the SLA Board of Directors from 2013 through 2015, assuming the role of board secretary at a time when the association was charting a “road map” to its future, selling its headquarters building, and transitioning to an association management company. At SLA 2017, she will be speaking at a session titled “Supporting a Bilingual or Multilingual Curriculum.”

Sara, the manager of the Library, Archives & Records Section at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, has previously worked at the University of Southern California Libraries, Packer Engineering, and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. She is a member of the editorial board of Practical Academic Librarianship, the co-author of Special Libraries: A Guide for Management (1997), and the author or co-author of several book chapters and journal articles.

Sara is the 2017 president of the Southern California Chapter and a past chair of the SLA Engineering Division. She has presented at several library conferences and is speaking at two sessions at SLA 2017: “Break Out of Your Library: Set Physics Loose with e-Books, Outreach, and Open Textbooks” and “Finding Facts in the Alternative World: Only Librarians Know for Sure.”

More information about SLA Fellows and other SLA honorees is available here.

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