Retired CIU Library Director Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

July 09, 2013

Jo Ann Rhodes takes it as a confirmation from God that “I did not waste my energies trying to be a good librarian.”

Rhodes, CIU’s former library director, is referring to the Lifetime Achievement Award presented to her by the Association of Christian Librarians (ACL) at the group’s annual meeting in June. Rhodes retired as library director at Columbia International University in 2012 after 28 years of service.

Rhodes says she was surprised, but honored and pleased to receive the award.

“As a professional in my field of librarianship, my goal has always been to have a positive impact in any opportunities I had to use my knowledge, skill, and experience, whether in my paid position or in any volunteer activities in which I engaged,” Rhodes said. “Those opportunities were my chance to increase my own knowledge and/or skill, but I saw them also as a platform to encourage other librarians and perhaps have a spiritual impact on others in some way as well. It is gratifying, to say the least, to know that, to some extent, I succeeded in that goal, and that it is recognized by others.”

The ACL paid tribute to Rhodes’ many library skills including her ability as a leader and an innovator. The award recognized her collaboration with other academic libraries in South Carolina to share an affordable catalog through the statewide Palmetto Academic Independent Library System, and her leadership with PASCAL, a system that provides college students across South Carolina with access to over 12 million books in 57 libraries.           

ACL also noted Rhodes’ ministry to her mother who suffers from ill health – a situation that kept Rhodes from accepting the award in person as the group met in San Diego.

“One of the things that happens to you when you retire is that all of a sudden you are not only away from the workplace and the profession, but you can quickly feel forgotten as your life takes on a new phase while your former colleagues go on with their professional lives!” Rhodes noted.

“This award came at just the right time to remind me that my efforts to be a good librarian have not been forgotten.”