SPCS, Boatwright Library announce John Miers Award for Excellence in Library Research

October 29, 2019

The School of Professional & Continuing Studies, in collaboration with Boatwright Memorial Library, is pleased to announce the John Miers Award for Excellence in Library Research in the School of Professional and Continuing Studies.

The award honors the memory of John Miers, C’13, a graduate of the SPCS Weekend College program who passed away on June 7, 2019, after having been diagnosed with a rare form of myeloma just 19 days earlier.

While Miers was a student at the University of Richmond, his experience in the Weekend College program’s first class, Knowledge Management, inspired him to pursue library science as a vocation. He followed that passion by enrolling in Florida State University to study library science shortly after graduating from UR.

While enrolled in graduate school, Miers was hired by Richmond Public Library, where he worked while completing his degree. He graduated in 2015, and in 2016 achieved his dream of working in a university library when he was named Director of Library Services at New Mexico State University in Grants, New Mexico. He worked at NMSU until his death in 2019.

Miers was a beloved member of the NMSU library community, and his passion for libraries and research is revealed in the library’s own Facebook page post announcing Miers’ passing:

“The NMSU Grants Campus Library lost its heart. Our library director John Miers, passed away Friday evening. His passion for libraries was contagious. He was loved very much and will live forever through our memories, a man that outlived us all with his stories.”

The impetus to honor Miers’ passion for research came from his University of Richmond classmates. Because students in the Weekend College program study as a cohort, the community of cohort members is close knit. Upon learning of Miers’ illness and sudden passing, members of his graduating cohort banded together to explore ways to honor him.

“When our Weekend College cohort learned of John's illness and sudden passing we were shocked," said   Robert Reed, C’13, a fellow graduate of Miers’. 

Reed and the other members of the Weekend College cohort wanted to honor Miers. “He had gotten his dream job, becoming a university librarian, and loved sharing his passion for knowledge with others,” said Reed. “We knew that this passion was ignited during his first weeks in the SPCS Weekend College program, and felt it fitting that the University establish some sort of tribute to John’s thirst for knowledge.”

This desire resulted in a query to Kevin Butterfield, University Librarian, about the possibility of connecting Miers’ passion with the University Library’s focus on research. Butterfield quickly responded that the Library would be happy to coordinate an annual research award for SPCS students that would be memorialized in an awards plaque on the second floor of the library. As a result, Miers’ memory will be honored with the John Miers Award for Excellence in Library Research in the School of Professional and Continuing Studies.

When Miers’ wife, Teresa Miers, learned of the University’s desire to honor Miers with a library research award, she was pleased. “I, along with John's sons, Vincent and David, was so touched by how his cohort wants to honor John’s memory.” 

“Research was John’s passion, and he was dedicated to passing on that knowledge to the students at New Mexico State University,” she continued, recalling Miers’ passion and the aptness of the award.

The award will be given annually to recognize and encourage excellence in the use of library research skills by students in the School. SPCS undergraduate students are eligible, based on a research project completed during the fall and spring academic year. The winning paper will demonstrate depth and breadth of effective use of library research materials and clear evidence of thoughtful command of these resources.

A committee will review research projects in the fall, nominated by faculty from the previous academic year’s submissions. The award will be announced in October each year starting in 2020. The winner will receive an award certificate, and the winner’s name will be inscribed on a plaque in Boatwright Memorial Library.

Award guidelines, timelines and recipients are available for faculty and students.