Natalia Fernández, curator and archivist of the Oregon Multicultural Archives and OSU Queer Archives at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, was named a winner of this year’s I Love My Librarian Award. Fernández is being recognized for her leadership in transforming lives and communities through education and lifelong learning. She is one of only 10 librarians in the country this year to receive this national honor. She is also the first librarian from Oregon to receive the award.
Fernández is commended for her ability to engage students from diverse backgrounds who have often felt excluded from library and archival spaces. She also uses outreach strategies to expand the boundaries of the library to reach underserved communities in rural Oregon.
Fernández preserves and shares the histories of the LGBTQ community members in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, helping to foster socially just archives. For example, she worked with undergraduate students to gather oral histories for the OSU Queer Archives by interviewing local residents.
She introduces students to archival materials and helps bring them to life through creative activities and exercises. For the last two years, Fernández has hosted the “Glitter in the Archives” event that gives students and community members the opportunity to craft with copies of archival materials.
Fernández will receive a $5,000 prize at an award ceremony and reception to be held this evening in New York City. The ceremony is hosted by Carnegie Corporation of New York, which co-sponsors the award along with The New York Public Library and The New York Times. The American Library Association administers the award through its Public Awareness Office, which promotes the value of libraries and librarians.