Tyler Magill of the University of Virginia Library has been awarded the American Library Association’s (ALA) 2019 Paul Howard Award for Courage for his actions on the night of August 11, 2017 in response to white supremacists marching at the University on the eve of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.
The Paul Howard Award, last given in 2017 to the Kansas City (Missouri) Public Library, is a bi-annual award given since 1995 to a librarian, library board, library group, or an individual who has exhibited unusual courage for the benefit of library programs or services.
In the nomination for the award, Magill’s colleagues expressed their admiration for him, noting that his actions “both on the night of the 11th and during the weekend demonstrated his willingness and ability to face adversity and danger with resolve . . . the (UVA) Library believes he symbolizes the spirit that the Paul Howard Award for Courage represents.”
Magill will be presented the award during the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC from June 20–25, 2019. With the award comes a citation of achievement and $1,000, which Magill plans to donate to the Charlottesville Community Resilience Fund, which “raises and distributes funds to meet the needs of people who face undue hardships imposed upon them due to structural oppression.”
Press release from the American Library Association news site:
2019 Paul Howard Award for Courage to Magill
CHICAGO – Tyler Magill of the Alderman Library at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, is the recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) Paul Howard Award for Courage. The $1,000 award and citation honors a librarian, library board, library group or an individual who has exhibited unusual courage for the benefit of library programs or services.
The award will be presented at the Award Reception and Ceremony during the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC.
A stacks liaison at UVA’s Alderman Library. Magill is recognized for his actions on the night of Aug. 11, 2017, during the “Unite the Right” rally on campus. He joined students at the Jefferson statue to help protect them from violence. They linked arms while being surrounded by white supremacists who were carrying torches and chanting “Jews will not replace us.” Unfortunately, violence did break out and Magill was injured and suffered a stroke on the following Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. His actions, both on the night of the 11th and during counterprotests throughout the weekend demonstrated his willingness and ability to face adversity and danger with resolve.
In the words of Paul Howard himself, courage is “the quality of mind which enables one to face adversity, difficulty, or danger with resolution and fortitude . . . it is that characteristic which enables librarians to seek the achievement of goals in spite of all opposing forces.” Jury chair Laurel Bliss states that Magill’s “resolution to openly face the adversity within the context of the Charlottesville white supremacist rally made him a strong candidate for this particular award.”
Members of the 2019 Paul Howard Award for Courage jury committee are: Laurel Bliss, chair, San Diego State University Library, San Diego; Sharon Edwards, Motlow State Community College McMinnville Center, McMinnville, Tennessee; Brian Rogers, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga, Tennessee; Linda Weatherspoon, Wentzville, Missouti; and Becca Worthington, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Charlotte, NC.
For more information on the Paul Howard Award for Courage and other ALA awards, please visit http://www.ala.org/awardsgrants/paul-howard-award-courage