Each year, The Alabama Association of College and Research Libraries presents its prestigious award, “The Sue O. Medina Significant Contribution Award,” honoring the year’s winner and reminding others of the enormous lifetime contribution of Dr. Sue Medina to librarianship in Alabama.
Medina, born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and reared in Tallahassee, Florida, received her B.A. in history (1966), her Master of Science (1971), Advanced Master of Science (1977) and Ph.D. in Library Science (1983), all from Florida State University.
Medina has had a long and varied career ranging from base librarian in Okinawa, Japan, in 1969, to reference librarian at UGA, Athens, 1971-72, Mobile Public Library, 1972-74 and the Alabama-Tombigbee Library System, 1975-76.
In 1977 Medina became a consultant for Planning and Research with the Alabama Public Library Service in Montgomery, and then Director, Network of Alabama Academic Libraries, from 1985 until 2009.
Throughout her career Medina has been extraordinarily active: writing and managing grants from such organizations as the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the U.S. Department of Education and the NEH U.S. Newspaper Project, and consulting in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky — wherever her expertise was needed. She has worked for the preservation of Alabama newspapers, the creating of inventories for art works in Alabama libraries and the promotion of reading Alabama literature with such programs as READ Alabama, an NEH-funded initiative, the Alabama Book Festival and the online literary map “This Goodly Land: Alabama’s Literary Landscape.”
Medina is the author of numerous articles aimed at the improvement of library services and, especially in the last 20 years, bringing libraries into the digital age and maximizing cooperation among academic and public libraries and making digital resources available to individual students and independent researchers, as well as teachers in search of instructional materials. Largely as a result of her efforts, we now have Alabama Mosaic, a digital “repository of materials on Alabama’s history, culture, places and people” available worldwide, and the Alabama Virtual Library which makes resources, especially databases, available to schools and individuals throughout the state.
Medina and her husband, Albert, whom she married in 1978, are now retired. Sue — not surprisingly, for a librarian — reads a lot, but also makes jewelry, teaches working with gemstone beads, quilts, does tai chi and has an interest in spelunking, describing her adopted home of Alabama as having “a wealth of beauty above ground” but also being “phenomenally beautiful underground.”
Sue O’Neal Medina’s expertise in the field of library science and her contribution to the profession in working to make information and knowledge available to all have made her a commendable inductee into the College of Communication and Information Sciences Hall of Fame, class of 2012.