February 4, 2014
Lemony Snicket and the ALA offer a prize for beleaguered librarians
by Nick Davies
Daniel Handler is better known by his pen name, Lemony Snicket, under which he wrote the popular and enjoyably sinister children’s books A Series of Unfortunate Events. Now he’ll be further known as a benefactor to librarians, through a prize that he’s funding, to be given annually to a librarian who’s dealt with hard times in the past year.
The American Library Association (ALA) announced via a press release last week that the ALA Council had voted to approve the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity. The Council voted on the measure at the ALA Midwinter Meeting (memorably attended by Melville House) in Philadelphia on Tuesday, providing a cash prize that will go to a librarian who “has faced adversity with integrity and dignity intact,” except in the event that a suitable candidate isn’t found, in which case the prize won’t be given out that year.
The Snicket Prize comes with $3,000 furnished by the author, which he describes — in character — as his “disreputable gains,” as well as “an odd, symbolic object from his private stash, as well as a certificate, which may or may not be suitable for framing.” Speaking to his motivation, Handler/Snicket explains, “The Snicket Prize will remind readers everywhere of the joyous importance of librarians and the trouble that is all too frequently unleashed upon them.”
Nominations for this year’s inaugural prize will open this Friday, February 7, with the deadline to apply on May 1 (which will be pushed back to December 1 in subsequent years). The award will be presented at ALA’s annual conference, set for June 26-July 1 this year in Las Vegas.
Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.