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Library Director Gets Lifetime Achievement Award

CNM Director of Library and Educational Resources Ben Wakashige was recently awarded with a lifetime achievement award from the New Mexico Library Association.

Sep 01, 2016

June 2011

Ben Wakashige
CNM Director of Library and Educational Resources Ben Wakashige was recently awarded with a lifetime achievement award from the New Mexico Library Association.

The award was presented to him during the association's annual awards dinner in late April. According to the program for the event, the Honorary Lifetime Membership Award is the "NMLA's highest award and is given to an individual for outstanding contributions to the purposes of NMLA and/or libraries in New Mexico."

"I feel honored and humbled by the award," said Wakashige, who has been the Director of Library and Educational Resources at CNM since July 2010. He has directed a variety of libraries, including those at Zuni High School, the University of Albuquerque, Albuquerque Academy, Western New Mexico University, the New Mexico State Library and National American University, the program said.

"I've been a librarian for about 40 years, not all of it, but most of it in New Mexico," Wakashige said. "There are a lot of very deserving librarians (in New Mexico)."

Wakashige has served on boards for local public library and literacy programs and served on the Board of Amigos Library Services for six years both as vice chair and chair.

The NMLA called him "New Mexico's most influential and respected librarian," and the 2003 New Mexico Legislature, in appreciating his service as State Librarian, noted "his unique perspective, unwavering support for library issues" and that he's "a true and good public servant willing to address challenging and unpopular issues."

"It's a commitment to the profession," Wakashige said. "Those of us who choose librarianship see ourselves as being public servants. It's, in my mind, a calling."

The award symbolizing his lifetime membership in the NMLA is a beautiful, engraved platter with Native American Bear Symbols and inlaid turquoise stones.

Wakashige was grateful to receive the beautiful award and proudly displays it in his office.

The award is based upon a long-standing record of constructive accomplishments rather than longevity, according to the NMLA.

The emcee for the awards ceremony was NMLA President Barbara Lovato-Gassman, who happens to be Wakashige's predecessor as Director of the CNM Libraries.

Even with all the great things happening in libraries around the state and with the NMLA, he says he's most looking forward to what's next at CNM.

"There are some exciting things happening here (at CNM)," Wakashige said.