Alison Armstrong is recipient of ALA's Esther J. Piercy Award

The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS), a division of the American Library Association, has named Alison M. Armstrong, UNT College of Information Science alumna, the winner of the 2018 Esther J. Piercy Award. The Piercy Award recognizes librarians who exhibit great potential for continuing contributions and leadership in the areas of library collections and technical services. Established in 1968, the Piercy Award is in memory of Esther J. Piercy who served as editor of the “Journal of Cataloging and Classification” and “Library Resources & Technical Services”.

The depth and breadth of Alison's accomplishments, including her professional service, presentations, and leadership in collection management are all the qualities represented by the Piercy Award, according to the ALCTS. 

“I am truly honored to win this award. Not only was it a wonderful surprise, but the outpouring of good wishes and attention I have received has been surreal and energizing,” said Armstrong. “I am lucky to have a supervisor who champions her staff’s accomplishments and was willing to take the time to nominate me.”

Alison was hired as the Collection Management Librarian at Radford University in Radford, Virginia in 2011. Prior to this role, she was the Collection Development and Cataloging Specialist. Interestingly, Alison’s first experience working in a library came about when she broke her collarbone in seventh grade and could not continue in band class. The principal decided that she could volunteer in the school library during that period – an experience that she loved.

Alison worked in Special Collections at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Later, she realized she enjoyed working in libraries more than any other place and decided to get her MLS. The UNT Department of Information Science was just starting its first Master’s Virginia cohort. Alison attended an information session hosted by Dr. Philip Turner, and felt that UNT’s long history of online cohorts was a good indicator that the Virginia cohort would be successful. She enrolled with the cohort and received her MLS from UNT in 2010. While pursuing her MLS, Alsion was also very helpful with the Library and Information Science Student Association, LISSA, and recruiting efforts in Virginia. She also has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Asheville in Literature with a minor in Women’s Studies.

Professionally, Alison has served as the Co-Chair of the ALA ALCTS Continuing Education Committee. She is a web course instructor for ALCTS’ Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management as well as Fundamentals of Collection Assessment. She is the Chair of her regional public library system, Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library. She Co-Chaired the Virtual Library of Virginia’s, VIVA, Monographic Collection Analysis Task Force and currently serves on the Collections Committee.

The award will be presented to Armstrong on June 23, 2018, at the ALCTS Awards Ceremony during the 2018 American Library Association Conference in New Orleans.


The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services is the national association for information providers who work in collections and technical services, such as acquisitions, cataloging, collection development, preservation and continuing resources in digital and print formats.

Photo: Alison M. Armstrong