Librarian of the Year

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 25 2010 11:25 AM

Librarian of the Year


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The criteria for

People

magazine's annual "

" selection are fairly intuitive. It's a title bestowed on that man who, in a given year, best exemplifies sexiness. The thinking behind

Time

's "person of the year" is murkier, though

or an advocate of peaceful civil disobedience seems to help. But what does it take to become

Library Journal

's Librarian of the Year?



As dozens of people across the country already know, this month's

Library Journal

announces that the 2010 librarian of the year is Craig Buthod, director of the Louisville Free Public Library. Did Buthod revolutionize the Dewey Decimal System? Will school kids and scholars alike now file books according to the Buthod

Scheme?  



Not exactly, but Buthod does seem like a worthy recipient of the honor, at least to this non-librarian. Despite the fact that the ungrateful citizenry of Louisville defeated a tax proposal that would have better supported the library system, Buthod opened a branch in a neighborhood that had never had one before—it was the first library built in the city since 1996.  He also raised money privately to restore the main branch, which had been devastated by a flood. And he created the Student Power Plus Card, which gives kids access to the library as well as to fare reductions on the bus system.



Suggestions for further accomplishments: Resolving the porn-is-gross-in-public-spaces vs. censorship-is-wrong debate; reversing the decline of print publishing.



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Juliet Lapidos is a staff editor at the New York Times.