Jade Kastel is the 2023 Recipient of the Illinois Library Association’s Illinois Academic Librarian of the Year Award

Illinois Association of College & Research Libraries Forum (IACRL)

August 1, 2023

Jade Kastel, Assistant Professor, Music Librarian, and Library Diversity Officer at Western Illinois University (WIU) Libraries, is the 2023 recipient of the Illinois Library Association’s (ILA) Illinois Academic Librarian of the Year Award.

The award, presented by the ILA Illinois Association of College and Research Libraries (IACRL) Forum, recognizes an Illinois librarian who is making an outstanding statewide contribution to academic or research librarianship and to library development. The award is sponsored by Library Juice Academy.

Jade has dedicated her library career and research to issues of gender and LGBTQ+ studies within jazz music, archives, and librarianship. Before coming to Illinois, she worked in academic libraries in Indiana and Florida. She has presented and published on DEI and librarianship topics at state and national levels, and she coordinates an interview series centering diversity in libraries for the Indiana Library Federation.

In 2023 she will have an essay and a chapter published in two different books. Jade got involved with IACRL shortly after moving to Illinois in 2021, where she serves on the IACRL Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Jade was involved in other state library associations before moving to Illinois, and she serves on the Racial Justice and Inclusion Committee for the Indiana Library Federation. Jade is the chair of the WIU Libraries Diversity Committee and was recently appointed the first-ever Diversity Officer for WIU Libraries, where she coordinates with staff to implement the libraries’ diversity plan.

A lifelong learner, she is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Performance with a Queer Studies minor at the University of Illinois. An accomplished jazz musician, she has performed throughout the United States and in Europe and South America. As stated in Jade’s nomination form, “Jade’s librarianship, research, doctoral studies, and committee work support the diverse needs of Illinois library patrons and advocate for the freedom to access information and knowledge. And yes, Jade reads banned books—and listens to censored music.”

The ILA Illinois Academic Librarian of the Year Award will be presented at an awards ceremony during the 2023 Illinois Library Association Annual Conference. The conference will take place October 24-26 in Springfield, Illinois.

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