John F. Helmer wins 2012 Hugh C. Atkinson award

John F. Helmer, executive director of the Orbis Cascade Alliance, has been named the 2012 winner of the Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award. Helmer will receive a cash award and citation at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 24, 2012, at the LITA Award Ceremony, during the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim.

Named in honor of one of the pioneers of library automation, the Atkinson Award recognizes an academic librarian who has made significant contributions in the area of library automation or management, and has made notable improvements in library services or research.

“John Helmer is recognized as an effective leader and champion of new ideas and initiatives in academic libraries,” said Mary Carmen Chimato, Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award committee chair and assistant dean of the University of the Pacific Library. “The committee was impressed with John’s breadth of experience, professional contributions, and his ability to facilitate collaboration across 36 individual institutions.  Most impressive is the genuine respect, appreciation and high esteem John’s colleagues hold for him, evidenced by the compelling nomination packet submitted to the committee.”

As the Executive Director of the Orbis Cascade Alliance, “John is a champion of new ideas and initiatives and is able to convert his ideas, and the ideas of others, into actions that are supported by the group and that ultimately improve the Alliance,” wrote one of Helmer’s nominators.

The Orbis Cascade Alliance is a consortium of private and public colleges and universities in Oregon and Washington.  The Alliance was formed in 2003 through the merger of Orbis and Cascade, two academic library consortia founded in the early 1990’s.  The Alliance serves the equivalent of more than 225,000 full-time students at 36 member institutions.  Membership includes all public institutions in both states.  As Executive Director, John Helmer is responsible for consortium leadership, strategic planning, budgeting, staff supervision, representing the consortium in professional and public meetings, and fostering collaborative relationships among member libraries and consortium partners.

Helmer received his B.A. in Applied Mathematics and Economics from the University of California, San Diego. He earned his M.L.S. from the University of California, Los Angeles and has completed additional graduate coursework in the Department of Economics Ph. D. program at Princeton University.

The Hugh C. Atkinson Award is jointly sponsored by four divisions of the American Library Association: the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS), the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) and LITA. The award is funded from an endowment established to honor Hugh C. Atkinson.