The Illinois Library Association (ILA) announces Sara Benson, Copyright Librarian and Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), as the 2020 Crosman Memorial Award Winner. The Crosman Award is named in memory of Alex Crosman, director of the Peoria Public Library at the time of his death in 1986. The Crosman Memorial Award, presented by the ILA Awards Committee and Dominican University SOIS, recognizes the achievements of library workers who are new or relatively new to the field and encourages continued involvement in the profession. This award honors Benson, someone who has accomplished a great deal in a short time.
As a Copyright Librarian, Benson answers hundreds of complicated copyright reference questions every year. She also provides copyright reference services to the Illinois public and makes an effort to create open-access resources that others can easily reuse. For instance, Benson has a YouTube Channel where she posts open access copyright primers and hosts a regular podcast where she interviews experts and stakeholders about copyright. She is actively involved in open educational resources at the state level, cochairing the CARLI OER Taskforce from 2019-2020. Benson was recently appointed Interim Head of the Scholarly Commons at the University Library and is the editor of a bestselling ALA publication on copyright, Copyright Conversations: Rights Literacy in a Digital World.
Benson says she feels “fortunate to get to engage in a profession that I love every day. I truly enjoy spreading copyright literacy and working with such wonderful colleagues and this award is such an honor. To get recognized by the Illinois Library Association for doing work that I am passionate about and that I find so rewarding is a true gift.”
The Crosman Memorial Award will be presented virtually in October at a ceremony held in conjunction with the 2020 Illinois Library Association Annual Conference.