Library Science alumnus receives Advocacy Award for expanding library card access

Lewis Giles, a 2015 graduate of the M.S. in Library Science program is this year’s recipient of the Robert L. Oakley Advocacy Award from the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL).

Established in 2008, the Award recognizes an individual or group who has been an outstanding advocate and has made significant contributions to the AALL policy agenda at the federal, state, local or international level. Giles is being recognized for his efforts to expand non-resident student access at the Dallas Public Library.

“I am honored to receive the 2022 Robert L. Oakley Advocacy Award for my work to expand access to Dallas Public Library’s services,” said Giles. “First and foremost, I would like to thank the director of Dallas Public Library Jo Giudice and her team. They are incredibly dedicated to their patrons and very open to new ideas.”

Lewis Giles
                   Lewis Giles

Lewis, a Dallas area native is the Assistant Director of Library Services at the University of North Texas at Dallas College of Law. He oversees collection management and public services for the Law Library. Prior to joining the UNT Dallas College of Law in July 2014 he worked for Dallas Colleges. 

In 2019, Giles was appointed to the City of Dallas Municipal Library Board which serves as a liaison between the library, the City Council and its citizens. During his tenure on the Municipal Library Board, Giles championed many big changes including the elimination of late fees, introduction of Wi-Fi hotspots, and an expansion of library card access to college students.

In October 2021, the Dallas City Council voted to expand the availability of library cards to all educational institutions within the city limits. This change was proposed by and championed by Giles as a member of the Municipal Library Board. With this change, students at Dallas College, Paul Quinn, UNT Dallas, and other institutions will have the same opportunities as other learners in the city to use Dallas Public Library. Under the previous policy, library cards for non-residents were limited to students and teachers at public and charter primary and secondary schools in Dallas. Non-resident students and teachers had to pay a $250 annual fee for unlimited access to Dallas Public Library’s collection of over 4.5 million items. 

“This is a huge victory for my community, especially considering the many legislative efforts aimed at limiting access to materials in public libraries across the nation,” Giles said. “This change benefited not only the students at the University of North Texas at Dallas but students of Dallas Colleges (the largest community college system in Texas) and Paul Quinn College (Dallas’ only Historically Black College and University (HBCU). I am proud to have been a part of improving access to information which is what librarians always strive to do,” he added.

In May 2022, Lewis received an official resolution of congratulations and thanks for his work with Dallas Public Library from Representative Jessica González of the Texas House of Representatives.

Giles is also the recipient of several professional awards including the 2020 Impact Award from UNT and the 2018 Library Publication Award from AALL. 

Published June 20, 2022.