On May 25, 2023, the Progressive Librarians Guild’s (PLG) Miriam Braverman Memorial Prize Committee announced that Maggie Grabmeier from University of Wisconsin-Madison is the 2023 winner of the Miriam Braverman Memorial Prize! Grabmeier’s essay was titled “Out of Bounds: Sexual Harassment from Patrons in the Public Library”. Grabmeier graduated with a MA LIS in May 2023.
Grabmeier’s essay presents a compelling overview of a timely yet under-researched topic, the sexual harassment of library workers by library patrons, focusing in particular on those working in public libraries. After reviewing recent literature and providing a feminist critique, Grabmeier concludes with some specific steps that libraries can take to both better respond to incidents when they do occur, as well as outlines policy and practices that might result in fewer incidents.
“A case is effectively made that the issue needs further research and attention; this essay itself therefore is a step in the right direction” one juror wrote.
The Braverman Memorial Prize is awarded annually to a student in Library Science or Archival Studies for an essay submitted on the theme of progressive or activist librarianship. As the winner of this prize, Grabmeier will receive a stipend toward expenses for attending the 2023 American Library Association (ALA) Annual conference and her essay will be published in an upcoming issue of Progressive Librarian, the PLG Journal. Additionally, she will be given the opportunity to give her perspectives about her attendance of ALA for the PLG bulletin.
The award honors Miriam Ruth Gutman Braverman (1920-2002), who was a socialist, writer, activist librarian, and longstanding member of the Progressive Librarians Guild, a founder of the ALA’s Social Responsibilities Round Table and a proponent of the social responsibilities perspective. The award is intended to celebrate Miriam’s spirit of activism and faith in the power of people’s collective social justice efforts and inspire future generations of librarians. The award has been given annually since 2003 with the exception of 2020. Past prize-winning essays can be found on PLG’s website.