LSU Libraries has awarded three library employees for their innovations, hard work, dedication, and leadership to LSU Libraries. Barry Cowan received the Library Staff Award, Sarah Simms received the Early Career Librarian Award, and Cristina Caminita received the Carolyn H. Hargrave Senior Leadership Award.
The Library Staff Award recognizes a non-classified professional staff member who demonstrates exceptional accomplishments through job responsibilities to the LSU Libraries and the University. They also demonstrate outstanding achievement and maintain excellent relations with library employees and users. The 2019 Library Staff Award recipient, Barry Cowan has been with the Libraries since 1998 and became Assistant Archivist in 2004. Cowan has served as the de facto university historian for many years and is an expert when it comes to any and all aspects of the University. He is the contact person for high-level administrators and professors as well as undergraduate students and the general public. Cowan assists with tours of LSU Libraries Special Collections for classes and donors, Audubon Day, and visitors. He also helped restore materials from the Louisiana State Museum after Hurricane Katrina.
The Early Career Librarian Award recognizes a faculty member who demonstrates exceptional accomplishments through initiative, creativity, and ability to make a significant contribution within the first six years of their career. LSU Libraries’ first Undergraduate and Student Success Librarian Sarah Simms excels in the teaching and networking aspects of her position. Simms has expanded the partnership with LSU First Year Experience to include Adulting 101 workshops and CxC. Simms has also led the LSU Libraries Open House the past two years. Over the past year, Simms has signed a book contract with LSU Press and worked with LSU Libraries Head of Government Documents Hayley Johnson on a project focusing on Japanese-American internment in Louisiana during World War II. Simms and Johnson gave a TEDxLSU talk on their project and were awarded a Louisiana Board of Regents ATLAS grant.
The Carolyn H. Hargrave Senior Leadership Award recognizes an LSU Libraries faculty member who demonstrates exceptional leadership through job responsibilities, research, and service. Cristina Caminita was hired in 2011 as the Agriculture and Instruction Librarian and became the head of Research and Instruction Services (RIS) in 2014. Caminita was an ALA Emerging Leader in 2013 and has been active in ACRL and the United States Agricultural Information Network (USAIN). She served as the director of USAIN from 2015 to 2017 and as secretary beginning in 2018. She also was the chief curator of “Cooperative Extension at LSU: Commemorating the Centennial of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914.” As head of RIS, Caminita is responsible for creating and filling of positions that fit the needs to the University and the Libraries. “Cristina has created a vision for our department’s development that allows us to grow and adapt to the rapidly changing environment of academic libraries,” a colleague noted. “Not only has she created a vision, she has mapped out a detailed plan and timeline to bring it about that is flexible enough to accommodate new and unanticipated situations.”