The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has announced that the recipient of its 2013 Distinguished Service Award is Dr. Keith Curry Lance, a Ph.D. sociologist who works with school and public libraries and related library organizations.
The award, established in 1978 and sponsored by Baker and Taylor, recognizes a member of the library profession “who has, over a significant period of time, made an outstanding national contribution to school librarianship and school library development,” AASL says in its announcement. Lance was nominated by Dr. Christie Koontz.
“In my opinion,” Koontz says, “after 20 years of working with Keith Curry Lance, there is no one more deserving.”
“We at SLJ and LJ are proud to have Keith as a partner,” says Rebecca T. Miller, editor-in-chief of School Library Journal, who worked with Curry Lance to launch the LJ Index (America’s Star Libraries) while at Library Journal. “Keith’s vision and dedication to helping librarians and educators use data to better understand the work they do has been a huge contribution to the field. We look forward to more!”
Adds Violet Harada, chair of the awards committee, in the announcement, “As a passionate and articulate advocate for libraries, Dr. Lance has validated what we inherently knew was good in our profession and he continues to challenge all of us to strive for excellence.”
Lance has authored more than two dozen monographs, most studies of the educational or general social impact of libraries, and authored or co-authored more than 50 articles in major library publications, including School Library Journal, AASL’s peer-reviewed online journal School Library Research, American Libraries, Library Journal, Library and Information Science Research, School Library Monthly and Teacher Librarian. His latest article for SLJ, “Librarian Required” [March, 2013], co-written by research partner Debra E. Kachel, examines the results of their study of school libraries in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania School Libraries Pay Off: Investments in Student Achievement and Academic Standards. The research was presented at SLJ’s 2012 Leadership Summit.
Lance was the founding director of the Library Research Service of the Colorado State Library and has continued to work as a consultant after retirement, both independently and in association with the RSL Research Group. He has worked with library groups as a survey researcher, statistician, data analyst and conference and workshop speaker/facilitator.
“Over 20 years ago, Keith Curry Lance set the trajectory for scholarly research focusing on the impact of school libraries in the United States,” says Harada in the announcement. “His work continues to be the bedrock upon which other studies build and his landmark efforts have had a profound impact on the definition of a quality school library program. It has influenced legislative action and program improvements across the nation.”
Lance has served on the AASL Research and Statistics Committee as both member and chair, research-related committees of the American Library Association, and several divisions. Additionally, he shared his expertise on committees devoted to library research and statistics associated with several federal agencies, including the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, and the National Center for Education Statistics.