2017 Recipients of the Library Excellence Award


Library Excellence Awards are given to professional librarians and classified staff in the University of Texas Libraries who have made extraordinary contributions.

Geoff Bahre

This recipient was described by in his nominations as both a team player and a team leader.  He is focused on delivering to UTL successful events and projects and is willing to do the hard work and have the difficult conversations necessary to make that happen. He communicates very clearly and everyone knows that they can rely on him to do a great job and count on him to come through.  His plate is always very full, but it doesn’t seem that way when he stops what he is doing to listen to whatever comes his way. In the recent past, he successfully led projects at The Foundry, the Learning Commons, the Scholars Commons, the ILS office renovation, and the PCL digital kiosk installation, plus a large number of staff office moves. He has also led his team in increasing support for events that require recording, AV support, and complicated set-up. To quote some of his nominators, “The bottom line is that I know I can count on him. If he says he’ll do something, I know it will be done.” “He is one of the most productive and effective people I’ve ever worked with.” “Of course, he could not do all those things alone, so he relies on his greatest strength: his ability to build a team. He gets the right people in the right place and empowers them with the tools and resources they need to complete the work quickly and accurately.”

Aggie McAlester

Everyone who nominated this recipient stressed her exemplary customer service skills. She has streamlined and refined workflows to make things easier for all her colleagues and is always looking for ways to do her part in making UTL a great place to work. She handles high pressure situations with grace and quick answer. In addition to her regular job, she volunteers for committees and has been a driving force in UTL party planning. This is someone who goes above and beyond to help out all staff with their travel requests – answering emails outside of normal business hours, contacting hotels to make sure receipts received match UT requirements, following up on odd reimbursement requests rather than submitting as is.

To quote some of her nominators, this recipient “is an energetic, perpetual breath of fresh air…” “is never content to just do her regular job so well, and “treats every question from you as though it is the first time you’ve asked, even though we both know it isn’t, never making you feel bad about it at all.”

Theresa Polk

This recipient was described by her nominators as an excellent team builder with a diplomatic spirit. She cultivates deep relationships with partner organizations, including many partner units here at UT. In the last year, she was an invited keynote speaker, a co-presenter at an international conference, and a co-author on an essay. She also stewarded the creation of the Latin American Digital Initiatives (LADI); a project with many collaborators and stakeholders. She is the leader and central force for post-custodial archiving work at UT. Her hard work, collaborative spirit, passion for human rights, and deep knowledge were key factors in securing a $700,000 Mellon grant to further transform post-custodial practice.

To quote from the nominations: “There is one aspect that pervades everything she does and that remarkable quality is her absolute appreciation and acceptance of the uniqueness of each person.” “She is a realistic visionary: her approach is the perfect combination of the real and the ideal and because of this, her work is powerful and transformative.”