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Portrait of Ione

Library Leader Receives Mentoring Award

At the 2023 Academic Library Association of Ohio (ALAO) annual conference in Columbus on Nov. 3, Ione Damasco, the University Libraries’ associate dean of inclusive excellence and organizational development, was recognized with the Kathryn L. Venditti Mentoring Award for their involvement in mentoring both students and librarians.

Nominated by several colleagues around the state, Damasco has led mentoring and training sessions for the OhioLINK Luminaries program, which provides project-based learning opportunities for students from backgrounds historically excluded from or underrepresented in librarianship and extends mentoring support for those students throughout the yearlong experience. By facilitating supervisor training within the Luminaries program, Damasco’s mentoring approaches reach library employees and the student participants. Here is an excerpt from the award citation, read by Gerald Natal of University of Toledo, ALAO past president:

  • Ione was not only instrumental in shaping the Luminaries program's approach to mentoring over the course of several years; they continue to provide an annual series of mentor training webinars and real-time discussions for 10 to 12 Luminaries librarian mentors each year.
  • Ione has been an informal mentor to many, including me. I never would have tried to apply for a national grant without their support, partnership and confidence in my abilities as a new librarian. They have shaped many professional careers by advocating for librarians’ professional development in diversity, equity and inclusion. They also teach workshops on DEI issues that help mentor library workers to better understand these concepts and apply them to their jobs. I appreciate how they are willing to share their knowledge with others so readily — a true hallmark of a mentor.
  • Talking about DEI and cultural identity issues in the workplace can sometimes lead to uncomfortable or awkward situations. Always open and gracious, Ione seeks to understand without judgment and immediately puts people at ease. They appreciate that others' experiences may not be theirs and always has positive and helpful approaches when asked for consultation. These wonderful and relatively rare skills make for a highly effective mentor.

Please join the University Libraries in congratulating our incredible colleague and leader. Earlier this year, it was announced campuswide that Damasco will serve as interim dean of the University Libraries beginning Jan. 1. A new dean is expected to begin July 1 following a competitive national search. Congratulations, Ione!

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