MLA News

Official News from the Music Library Association

2021 MLA Citation Awardees

The MLA Citation, the Association’s tribute for lifetime achievement, is awarded in recognition of distinguished service to music librarianship over a career. It is the highest honor we bestow. For 2021, we have three recipients of the MLA Citation.

Beth Christensen

As a leader and decision-maker at the national and regional levels of MLA over the last 40 years, our first recipient is the consummate professional: well-prepared, polished, and charming. Her contributions to the profession, to MLA, and to music librarianship embody expert professional practice, insightful scholarship, and generous service.

Through extensive publications and presentations her work has unmistakably defined practice and philosophy of music information literacy, inspiring dozens of music librarians to create comprehensive information literacy programs across the country. Her extensive service to the organization has included many committee roles, member-at-large on the Board of Directors, and chapter chair, all roles that she has fulfilled with aplomb.

While so much of her decades of work has been visible to all in the MLA community, it has been her behind-the-scenes kindness, approachability, and willingness to mentor that have touched so many. She evinces genuine care for and support of her colleagues in the profession. Countless newcomers ascribe to her their decision that MLA and music librarianship were their professional homes. She elevates others’ perception of music librarianship, and she makes clear in words and deeds that what we do matters, and should be done well and with joy.

Jean Harden

With her curiosity, tenacity, and talent, our next recipient is one of the top practitioners in the field of music cataloging. Her work includes extensive advocacy, whether through tireless efforts to keep the needs of music users foremost in the development of new standards or through her persistence in making catalog vendors understand how important those needs are. She demonstrates that creating a well-constructed catalog is an essential public service activity.

Her service to MLA extends far beyond her many active committee roles on the Cataloging and Metadata Committee. Most significantly, her book, Music Description and Access: Solving the Puzzle of Cataloging, has become an indispensable text on the principles of music cataloging for new and experienced catalogers alike.

But her most important legacy will likely be the students and professionals she inspired and mentored. Through student supervision, teaching, and training, she provided new music catalogers with a comprehensive education in a rich and complex practice.

Her career depicts a librarian fully engaged in our profession, not only as it is practiced now, but as it will be in the future by the many folks who have been her employees, students, co-workers, and friends.

Vincent Pelote

Our final Citation recipient is known for his warm relationships with colleagues and for providing the sort of leadership that comes from camaraderie, education, expertise, and generosity of spirit.

Through his publications, including discographies, liner notes, and reviews, he is a model music scholar and librarian who demonstrates the authority and proficiency that we all strive to achieve. In his day-to-day work, he has elevated description of jazz and recordings, preserved and made accessible countless treasures, and helped to make rare periodicals accessible to users worldwide.

He will long be known for his many contributions to our Association, but his most visible legacy will be as the MLA Big Band’s unofficial MC and one of its earliest members and organizers. He has kept this MLA tradition vibrant.

For over thirty years, he has helped to make MLA what it is at its best: a professional organization of scholars, musicians, librarians, and friends.