SLA’s 2021 Awards Recipients Hail from Three Continents

Hurst-Wahl to Receive Dana Award; Leach, King to Join Hall of Fame

Mclean, Virginia, U.S.A., 29 June 2021—Librarians and information professionals from India, the United Kingdom, and the United States will be honored by the Special Libraries Association for their past and current contributions to the information profession and SLA and for their future potential to advance the interests of both.

SLA will recognize the 10 honorees at an awards ceremony that will start at 4:00 p.m. ET on August 3, the opening day of the association’s 2021 Annual Conference. The awards ceremony, like the conference itself, will be held virtually, although the ceremony will be open to the public and does not require conference attendance. To register for the awards ceremony, go to

John Cotton Dana Award
Named for SLA’s founder and first president, the John Cotton Dana Award is SLA’s highest honor. It is granted to an information professional to recognize a lifetime of achievement as well as exceptional service to SLA and the library and information profession.

Jill Hurst-Wahl, professor emerita in Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and a widely respected speaker, writer, researcher, educator, and consultant, is receiving the Dana Award this year. An SLA member since 1990, Hurst-Wahl has served on the association’s board of directors, held leadership positions in SLA’s Upstate New York and Information Technology Communities, and served on numerous committees, advisory councils, and work groups. She received a presidential citation in 2008 for her work with the SLA Second Life project.

SLA Hall of Fame
Membership in the SLA Hall of Fame is accorded to SLA members in good standing who are at or near the end of their active professional career to recognize service and contributions to the association. Hall of Fame recognition also is granted for lengthy distinguished service to an SLA chapter or division that has contributed to the success of the association. Two SLA members are being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year:

  • James King (posthumous), former branch chief and chief information architect at the U.S. National Institutes of Health; and
  • Penny Leach, head of business information services for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Fellows of SLA
Fellowship in SLA is bestowed on active, mid-career SLA members in recognition of past, present and future service to the association and the profession. Fellows are called upon and expected to advise SLA’s Board of Directors and alert members to issues and trends warranting action. Individuals receiving this honor may use the title Fellow of the Special Libraries Association. Five SLA members are being named Fellows this year:

  • Parveen Babbar, deputy librarian at Jawaharlal Nehru University;
  • Clara Cabrera, research and reference supervisor at WilmerHale;
  • John DiGilio, director of library services at Sidley Austin LLP;
  • Michael Sholinbeck, public health librarian at the University of California Berkeley; and
  • Laura Walesby, head of the business library at Michigan State University.

James M. Matarazzo Rising Star Award
The Rising Star Award is bestowed annually to recognize outstanding new SLA members who show exceptional promise of leadership and contribution to the association and profession. Nominees must have one to five years of professional experience as an information professional and have been an SLA member for five years or less. Two SLA members are being named Rising Stars this year:

  • Emma Antobam-Ntekudzi, reference and instruction librarian at Bronx Community College; and
  • Amy Stubbing, academic engagement lead in the University of Westminster Library.

More information about SLA’s awards program, including awards criteria and lists of previous awards recipients, is available here.

About SLA
The Special Libraries Association (SLA) is a nonprofit international organization for innovative information professionals and their strategic partners. SLA serves information professionals in more than 60 countries and in a range of working environments, including business, academia and government agencies. SLA promotes and strengthens its members through learning, advocacy and networking initiatives. For more information, visit

Amy Burke

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Special Libraries Association

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