Sarah Burke Cahalan and Kayla Harris Receive the 2020-2021 John Brubaker Memorial Award


The Catholic Library World Editorial Committee has selected Sarah Burke Cahalan and Kayla Harris, both of the Marian Library at the University of Dayton, as the recipients of the John Brubaker Memorial Award for 2020-2021. They are honored for their article, “Mary, Undoer of Knots: Unraveling Best Practices for Unwanted Donations and Deaccessioned Collection Items in a Catholic Library,” which appeared in the September 2020 issue of Catholic Library World. Cahalan and Harris reveal how the traditional library practice of deaccessioning takes on a decidedly different character in a Catholic library because of the potentially scared nature of some objects. Mindful of the stipulations of canon law demanding reverent treatment of sacred objects, the authors consider how librarians in Catholic institutions should dispose of unwanted items that might have been blessed and dedicated to divine worship. Cahalan and Harris consider materials such as books, holy cards, postcards, statues, sacred art, and sacramentals, acknowledging that their sacred nature may not always be known with certainty. They also suggest appropriate methods of disposal, be it donation, repurposing, respectful burning, or burial. For their guidance with addressing a challenge unique to Catholic libraries, the Catholic Library World Editorial Committee is please to bestow the John Brubaker Memorial Award to Sarah Burke Cahalan and Kayla Harris.

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