Courtney Hoffner, website managing editor and content design librarian at UCLA Library, and Sangeeta Pal, access services librarian for the UCLA Law Library, have earned 2023 Librarian of the Year Awards, presented by the Librarians Association of the University of California-Los Angeles.

The award was established in 1994 to recognize excellence in librarianship in one or more areas: creativity, innovation, courage, leadership and inclusivity. After a hiatus last year due to pandemic-related interruptions, two librarians were recognized this year. Hoffner and Pal will each receive $500 in professional development funds.

“The work of both librarians have had a deep impact on how the UCLA Library and collections are viewed and accessed,” said Lizeth Ramirez, chair of the librarian of the year award committee.

Hoffner, who earned a master’s degree in information studies from UCLA in 2008, joined the Library in 2010 as a web and emerging technologies librarian in the sciences. She is being honored for leading the content design and migration of the Library’s 18-month effort to redesign, rebuild and relaunch the UCLA Library website. Hoffner led library units and colleagues through content strategy, project planning, editor training, content generation and knowledge sharing while defining her newly created role of managing editor. Her work makes it easier for patrons to find library resources and services, providing a welcoming user experience.

“The challenges involved in moving old messy content into a new ideal form were many and mighty,” said Ramirez, librarian/archivist for the Los Angeles Communities and Cultures program. “Hoffner’s unique blend of institutional knowledge and domain expertise, combined with her tremendous dedication to quality and the mission of the Library, made her the perfect person to lead us in this transformation.”

Pal, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA in 1995, joined the UCLA Law Library in 1999 as an access services librarian. She is being recognized for her work leading the streamlining of library operations, which has allowed greater user access to systemwide library materials. Pal, as chair of the local implementation team, was crucial in the implementation of UC Library Search, which better integrates the circulation, management, and sharing of print and digital collections across the entire University of California library system. This multiyear project involved the participation of almost 80 colleagues across all UCLA Library locations and affiliated libraries.

“Pal nurtured an environment of support and understanding throughout the various project phrases, ensuring that all library stakeholders, including affiliate libraries, felt heard and had their needs addressed,” Ramirez said. “Pal had a knack for hearing all sides of an issue and asking insightful questions, and her leadership was one of the key reasons that UCLA had a successful migration to the integrated system.”

The committee also recognizes and honors all 2023 nominees for their work: Salma Abumeeiz, Jason Burton, Kevin Gerson, Christopher Gilman, Miki Goral, Donna Gulnac, Angela Horne, Michael Oppenheim, Lynda Tolly and Hermine Vermeij.

Founded in 1967 and formally recognized as an official unit of the University of California in 1975, the librarians association advises UC on professional and governance matters; makes recommendations concerning UC librarians’ rights, privileges and obligations; and promotes full utilization of UC librarians’ professional abilities.