ARCHIVED: Winners of First Minority Leadership Award Embody Professionalism

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May 23, 2002

A private firm librarian from Washington, D.C., and an academic librarian from North Carolina have been selected as the co-recipients of the new Minority Leadership Development Award.

Tanya Brown, head librarian at Spiegel & McDiarmid in Washington, D.C., and Donna Nixon, reference librarian at the Kathrine R. Everett Law Library at the University of North Carolina, will each receive $1,500 for travel, lodging and registration expenses to attend the AALL Annual Meeting; team up with experienced AALL leaders, who will serve as their mentors; and serve on AALL committees.

Brown and Nixon were selected as co-recipients of the award because they demonstrated leadership qualities, including initiative, charisma, professional scholarship, and service and commitment to the profession, said Anne McDonald, chair of the AALL Diversity Committee.

Brown not only works as head librarian at a private law firm, but she is also a reference librarian at Catholic University of America's law library. She often contributes articles to Law Library Lights, the newsletter of the Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C., Inc. In addition, Brown is involved in the D.C. Public Library Volunteer Computer Instruction Program. She previously worked at the Washington, D.C., office of Covington and Burling. Brown graduated from Howard University Law School and received her M.L.S. degree from the University of Maryland.

"I believe it is my duty to be a vocal leader in library associations that issue policy and procedures that direct the way my profession develops," Brown wrote in her application.

In addition to her duties as reference librarian at the University of North Carolina, Nixon teaches advanced legal research classes at the university's law school. Before she joined the University of North Carolina's law library staff, she was a practicing attorney in the Silicon Valley. But she "soon missed the human-service aspects" of the law, she said. That's when she enrolled at the University of North Carolina's library school. While she pursued her M.L.S., Nixon served as president of the school's Information and Library Science Student Association and volunteered with the local literacy council. Before she started her current job, she spent the summer in South Africa volunteering as part of the World Library Partnership's "Inform the World" project. She helped raise nearly $4,000 from her colleagues in law libraries and law schools. Nixon received her J.D. from Stanford University and M.L.S. from the University of North Carolina.

"This is such great news. The budget situation here took a horrible turn, and I would not have been able to go to the Annual Meeting without your assistance," Nixon said. "I am honored and determined to contribute as much as I can to the Association. Thank you so very much."

The Minority Leadership Development Award was created last year to ensure that AALL's leadership remains vital, relevant and representative of the Association's diverse membership. The winners are chosen based on how well the applicant's professional interests, goals and education demonstrate his or her leadership potential in the Association and the profession.

Both recipients will be recognized July 22 at the Association Annual Awards Ceremony and Reception for Recipients and Contributors during the 2002 AALL Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla.