Philadelphia, PA — The Penn Libraries is excited to announce that Judith Currano, head of Penn’s Chemistry Library, has been selected as the 2016 Rose L. Vormelker Award winner by the Special Libraries Association (SLA) in recognition of “her commitment to advancing the development and knowledge of people from all backgrounds who are engaged in the study of chemistry.” Each year at its conference, SLA bestows the Vormelker Award upon one or more members in good standing who have actively worked to teach and mentor their fellow librarians and students. The impact Rose Vormelker, a pioneering business librarian and former president of SLA, had on academic and professional development in others inspired the creation of the award, which is given to individuals who are similarly invested in furthering learning in others.

Currano, a sought-after teacher of chemistry students and trainer of professional chemists, certainly fits that bill. In addition to her role as the head of the Chemistry Library at Penn, Judith teaches a course in chemical information that is required of all first-year doctoral students in chemistry, gives lectures on information resources to every student enrolled in Penn’s undergraduate organic chemistry laboratory courses, and is an active member of the Penn Women in Chemistry professional group. Off campus, she has long been offering training to fellow information professionals at the SLA Annual Conference in their “Chemistry for the Non-Chemist,” Chemical Information Sources, Requests, and Reference,” and “Extreme Structure Searching” workshops, as well as in multiple other venues.

A member of SLA since 1999, Judith has been an engaged and influential leader in SLA’s Chemistry Division, as membership chair, list owner, professional development chair, and, most recently, liaison to the American Chemical Society’s Division of Chemical Information. In 2000, she joined the Philadelphia Chapter, which has been not only supportive but instrumental in her development of several of her educational materials for non-chemist professionals. She creates and teaches continuing education (CE) courses focused on chemical information retrieval, including “Chemical Information Sources, Requests, and References,” which will be offered at SLA 2016. Over the years, she has developed Webinars for SLA, such as “Truncating Molecules: Basic Techniques in Structure and Substructure Searching for Information Professionals.” She also participates regularly in the Chemistry Division’s Conference Buddy program, mentoring a first-time attendee at each SLA Annual Conference.

 Currano will receive the Vormelker award at the opening session of the 2016 SLA Annual Conference this June in Philadelphia.


About the Penn Libraries
The Penn Libraries serve the world-class faculty and students of Penn’s 12 schools. The Libraries’ collections comprise more than 7 million volumes, over 100,000 journals, some 2 million digitized images, and extraordinary rare and unique materials that document the intellectual and cultural experience of ancient and modern civilizations. Through our collaborative relationships, we supplement Penn’s great local collections with physical access to the Center for Research Libraries (approximately 5 million items), the combined holdings of the Ivies (more than 70 million volumes), and exclusive electronic access to some 2 million public domain titles in the HathiTrust. Today, the Libraries play an instrumental role in developing new technologies for information discovery and dissemination and are noted for groundbreaking work in digital library design.  To learn more about the Penn Libraries, visit