New Rising Stars Primed to Make Lasting Impact

Being named a “rising star” can sometimes create a burden of expectations that weighs down even the most talented of people. The two information professionals who are receiving SLA’s Rising Star Award this year are set to make ongoing contributions in the years ahead because they are focusing on issues and participating in activities that are of intrinsic interest to themselves rather than spreading themselves too thin.

Emma Antobam-Ntekudzi and Amy Stubbing will be honored by their peers, friends and family at SLA’s 2021 Awards and Honors Ceremony, which will take place virtually on August 3. They will be presented with the James M. Matarazzo Rising Star Award, which recognizes outstanding new SLA members who show exceptional promise of leadership and contribution to the association and profession. Nominees must have at least one but no more than five years of professional experience as an information professional, and must have been an SLA member for five years or fewer.

The award was first presented in 2009 and was called simply the SLA Rising Star Award. Beginning in 2019, the award was named for Jim Matarazzo, a longtime and beloved SLA member who died in 2018. Jim served on the faculty of the School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College for more than four decades, nurturing the careers of many aspiring librarians, and the Rising Star Award is a tribute to his dedication and passion.

Emma Antobam-Ntekudzi
Emma Antobam-Ntekudzi joined SLA only two years ago, and in that brief time she has already made a lasting impact on the association’s DEI programming. She leads a reading group in the Diversity, Inclusion, Community and Equity Community that focuses on black, indigenous, and people of color scholarship and the experience of marginalized communities. The group goes beyond just reading and discussing, however—it brainstorms actionable take-aways so other SLA communities can translate ideas into activities. That emphasis on actionable take-aways was also evident in two sessions Emma helped lead at the SLA 2020 Annual Conference, one titled “Witnessing Whiteness” and the other titled “Brainstorming DEI Programming.”

On the local level, Emma participated in a 2019 panel discussion about diversity and inclusion in library and information environments, sponsored by the SLA New York Community. This and other efforts prompted the New York Community to present Emma with its own Rising Star Award last year.

Attendees at SLA’s 2021 Annual Conference, which opens August 3, will see Emma’s name on the agenda again. She’s participating in a panel presentation titled “Compassionate Librarianship: Reframing Reference for the Virtual Space.”

Amy Stubbing
After joining SLA in 2017, Amy Stubbing quickly made her mark on the SLA Europe Community, serving as webinar coordinator and digital communications chair before becoming president-elect last year and president in 2021. She received the 2018 Early Career Conference Award from SLA Europe and the SLA Academic Community, and she received a scholarship from SLA to attend the 2019 Leadership Symposium in New Orleans.

Amy has also made a mark in the information profession, presenting at conferences on the topics of making data-driven decisions and managing collections. She writes about those topics as well—in fact, she has written a book, Data Driven Decisions: A Toolkit for Library and Information Professionals, that is due to be published in January 2022. And when she isn’t speaking or writing, she is busy mentoring colleagues and volunteering with other professional development groups.

The Awards and Honors Ceremony is free of charge and requires registration. It will be presented virtually on the Remo platform.

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