Four Librarians Inducted to MLA Hall of Fame at 2010 Annual Conference
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Tamson Ely of Springfield, Corinne Fisher of the Reading Public Library, Bonnie O’Brien of Shrewsbury, and James Sutton of Andover were inducted to the Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Hall of Fame during the organization’s Annual Conference held April 30th, 2010 at The Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis, MA. This honor is bestowed upon practicing or retired librarians who have made a substantial, sustained contribution to advancing the cause of Massachusetts librarians or librarianship over a career of at least ten years. Inductees' contributions may be in the fields of public service, education, advocacy, mentoring, service to the profession, or other areas. Inductees may work or have worked in school, public, special, or academic libraries, in library education, agencies, or associations.
l-r, Susan McAlister, MLA President, who presented certificates of induction to the MLA Hall of Fame to Corinne Fisher (Reading Public Library), Bonnie O'Brien (Shrewsbury Public Library, retired), and Tamson Ely (Springfield Technical Community College, retired). Jim Sutton (Memorial Hall Library, Andover) was also inducted but was unable to attend the conference
Tamson Ely began her library career with a brief posting at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She left library work for some time and returned to the library at the Springfield Technical Community College (STCC), thinking she might stay for two years. She underestimated her stay by 34 years, and recently retired after 36 years at the college. She felt it was an exciting place to work with a unique mission, a diverse student body in all respects, and a dedicated college staff. In 1979 she became Director and then Dean of Library Services in 1999.
She participated in the governance of many library networks and organizations, serving as President or Chair of many local consortia. She served with the Cooperating Libraries of Greater Springfield, Western Massachusetts Health Information Consortium that included hospital libraries, MCCLPHEI (Massachusetts Commonwealth Consortium of Libraries in Public Higher Education Institutions) which was an important and vital organization for public higher education libraries. Ms. Ely was involved with the planning group which expanded the regions, and STCC quickly joined and Ms. Ely remained active with the Western Massachusetts Regional Library System. During her career dedicated to library service she also served as President of NELINET, a New England Library Consortium. She has served as a leader and mentor to many librarians sharing her vision and dedication to service across the Commonwealth.
Corinne Fisher began her professional career at the Robbins Library in Arlington. She was soon appointed Head of Children’s Services at the Reading Public Library where she currently serves. She has been active and played leadership roles at many library-related organizations, e.g., MLA, NOBLE (North of Boston Library Exchange), NMRLS (Northeast Massachusetts Regional Library System), its predecessor, the Eastern Massachusetts Regional Library System, the New England Library Association, and others. She has served as an officer, a teacher, a mentor, a speaker, a coordinator, a planner, a treasurer, an advocate, a role model, and the leader of an award winning summer reading program that excites children with its link to a charity.
Bonnie O’Brien had her first library experience as a Girl Scout working on a service bar. Her first job was at the Portsmouth NH Public Library. She moved on to the Worcester Public Library and later to the Shrewsbury Public Library. She recalls wonderful times working with colleagues to provide patrons with the best possible library service. She served two years as MLA president; she was on the planning committee for CW/MARS and for the Central Massachusetts Regional Library System. Her colleagues recall her as a mentor to her colleagues encouraging them to further success in their own careers.
While working at the Newton Free Library, James Sutton earned his graduate degree in library science. He later served at the Stoughton Public Library and at the Morse Institute Library in Natick before being named Director of Andover’s Memorial Hall Library in 1993 where he remained until his June 2009 retirement. Mr. Sutton’s continuing focus has been to find new opportunities for libraries as the “information place” to serve the public. His leadership and dedication to Massachusetts libraries are evidenced by terms as president of the Massachusetts Library Association and the Minuteman Library Network. He is a tireless advocate for libraries and library services as demonstrated by his leadership in legislative advocacy efforts.
MLA introduces between three and five inductees to the Hall of Fame Award during even numbered years at the its Annual Conference. Nominations are evaluated by the MLA Public Relations Committee and recommendations to name inductees are recommended and approved by the MLA Executive Board.
Previous MLA Hall of Fame Inductees
2010: Tamson Ely, Corinne Fisher, Bonnie O’Brien, James Sutton
2008: Ruth Kowal, Krista McLeod, Sharon St. Hilaire
2006: Joseph Hopkins, Christine Kardokas, Anne M. O'Brien
2004: Louise Brown, Kim Charlson, Marjorie Judd
2002 : Keith Michael Fiels, Lois Kane, James Matarazzo, Anne Reynolds
2000: Donna Guerin, Professor Ruth Leonard, Edward J. Montana
1998: Maggie Bush, Audrey Friend, Shelley Quezada, Jan Resnick
1996: Kay Bader, Connie Clancy, Virginia Tashjian