ANNABEL K. STEPHENS

In the eyes of Annabel K. Stephens, public libraries and librarians provide great benefits to individuals and communities. She decided she wanted to be a part of that world at a young age, and, after decades of experience, continues to thrive. She started out as a librarian at Muscle Shoals Regional Library and Memphis Public Library, and then became a branch head at the latter and the director of the Jennie Stephens Smith Public Library. Dr. Stephens proceeded to join the College of Communication & Information Sciences at The University of Alabama in 1984, where she found her niche. As both a librarian and professor, she has the privilege of helping people use public libraries and of preparing future librarians to make incredible differences. She loves the combination, and remains at the school as an adjunct professor to this day. Over the years, her other positions there have included associate professor, assistant professor, and part-time instructor.

The highlight of Dr. Stephens’ career thus far was accruing accolades such as the Distinguished Service in Library Education Award from Beta Phi Mu, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alabama Library Association, and inclusion in The College of Communication and Information Sciences Hall of Fame at the University of Alabama. Other notable honors include the Knox Hagood Award from the College of Communications and Information Sciences at The University of Alabama, the Eminent Librarian Award and the Humanitarian Award from the Alabama Library Association, the Ruth Blackburn Community Service Award from West Alabama AIDS Outreach, the Librarian of the Year Award from the Alabama Chapter of Beta Phi Mu, and the Steven L. Mann Award from the Mystic Krew of Druids. Her achievements were featured among the pages of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, Who’s Who in the World, and Who’s Who of American Women.

​To prepare for her journey, Dr. Stephens earned a Doctor of Library Science from Columbia University in 1988, a Master of Library Science from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University in 1970, and a Bachelor of Arts from Mississippi University for Women in 1968. She kept in touch with her peers and any developments in her field by joining prominent professional organizations like the American Library Association, the Reference and User Service Association, the Public Library Association, ALISE, and the Alabama Library Association. Further, she has authored books like “Public Library Collection Development in the Information Age” and “Assessing the Public Library Planning Process.”

Looking to the future, Dr. Stephens hopes to still be doing what she loves most: volunteering, reading, traveling, visiting with friends, and being involved in her church. Her current charitable endeavors include volunteering with Turning Point Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services, Hospice of West Alabama, and the University Presbyterian Church Food Pantry, and serving as a board member of West Alabama AIDS Outreach.

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