Poppy Johnson-Renvall Wins Prestigious Academic Librarian of the Year Award

Poppy is the Director of Libraries at CNM and the award was given out by the New Mexico Consortium of Academic Libraries
October 09, 2020

Poppy Johnson-Renvall, the Director of Libraries at CNM, says she has a very simple guiding philosophy in her job. Any time she has to make a decision regarding the libraries she asks herself, “Will this help the students and how will it impact CNM?”

“I literally ask myself that every single time and it never guides me wrong,” Poppy says. 

That commitment to CNM, its libraries and its students, is what earned Poppy the Academic Librarian of the Year Award from the New Mexico Consortium of Academic Libraries. She’s now part of a list of well-respected librarians who’ve been honored around the state.

Poppy came to CNM in 2010 as the Associate Director of Libraries and was promoted to the Director’s position in 2012. She had worked at other academic libraries but chose CNM because of its well-known commitment to students. 

“We see people from all walks of life here at CNM and I feel like everyone at the college and in the library is committed to meeting people wherever they need to be met in order to help them succeed,” she says.   

The award comes at a particularly important time as New Mexico and the country juggle a pandemic and try to stay informed about important events including the Census and the 2020 election. For Poppy, libraries are more important than ever.

“Libraries have often been called second responders,” she says. “Libraries have always been safe havens that provide up-to-date and accurate information.”

Poppy’s nominator for the award, librarian Val Nye, says Poppy is particularly deserving because of the work she’s done during COVID-19.

“Through the COVID-19 crisis the CNM library has continued to be innovative by checking out computers for long-term use to students and by quickly subscribing to Ebsco’s new OER platform (just to name a few ways),” Val wrote. “Poppy has served her library during COVID-19 while also serving as the President of the New Mexico Consortium of Academic Libraries during this time. Doing this is a difficult balancing act and she has done it well.”

Poppy says ensuring the library continued to be a lending and information source as most classes moved online was absolutely essential. 

“If there was a resource we had and a student, staff or faculty member needed that resource, we’ve found a way to lend it out,” she says. “We’ve also worked hard to build up-to-date collections of reliable COVID-19, Census, and election material that the campus can access.”

With regard to the award, Poppy says she’s honored to be recognized, particularly in the current moment.

"I feel very humbled that my peers would nominate me, and I’m very excited about the award,” Poppy says.