Fondren’s David Bynog recognized for exemplary service, innovation

Hard working. Intelligent. Insightful. Dedicated. Reliable. People at Fondren Library have no shortage of adjectives with which to describe David Bynog, assistant head of acquisitions. Now they can add award-winner.

David Bynog

David Bynog

Bynog is this year’s recipient of the Shapiro Library Staff Innovation Award, which recognizes a member of the Fondren Library staff who has developed an innovative program to provide library services at Rice University or has shown exemplary service to the university community. He accepted the award at a ceremony and reception this week.

“David is dedicated to his profession and service at Fondren,” wrote Janice Lindquist, head of acquisitions, in her nomination of Bynog. “He does all he can to help make this library the best we can be.”

Bynog joined the Fondren staff in 1997, one year after he earned a master’s degree in music from the Shepherd School. He was named assistant head of acquisitions in 1998 and in the ensuing decade has been dedicated to the betterment of the library for users and staff alike.

“David has been an integral hub in almost all activities in the library,” another nominator wrote. “His style is so reliable, so calm — he easily facilitates all happenings he is involved with.”

And he’s involved with a lot: For the past five years, he has chaired the library’s Staff Travel and Development Committee and organized development opportunities for staff and the Rice community, ranging from invited speakers to technology training initiatives to emergency preparedness sessions and even book arts events — most recently a session on the engineering involved in creating pop-up books. He is a member of the Career Advancement Program Review Committee, the Ad Hoc Student Worker Committee and the group that responds to messages about electronic resource problems. He previously served on the Research Discovery Tools Marketing/Training Task Force, the Electronic Resource Management Working Group and the Fondren Research Education Group. From 2006 to 2008 he chaired the Shapiro Award Selection Committee.

Bynog is “a librarian’s librarian,” another nominator wrote. “He always seems to be ahead of the curve of knowing about new technology and potential applications at Fondren. He is equally comfortable writing articles such as ‘Art on Display in Fondren Library,’ curating a folk art exhibit, serving on working groups for electronic collections and serving on search committees for librarians specializing in electronic resources, cataloging and metadata. Professional, highly intelligent, congenial and diplomatic, David brings a dedication to excellence in all that he undertakes.”

That dedication was evident in the events celebrating Fondren’s 60th anniversary last year. Bynog was co-chair of the 60th Anniversary Task Force, which organized a panel presentation, “Reflections: Sixty Years of Fondren Library,” separate celebrations for library staff and for students, a photo retrospective and more.

The task force also worked with Jane Zhao in the Digital Media Center to produce an oral history of Fondren — a 42-minute video of retired and current staff who documented the library’s past and discussed its future.

“I’m very proud of the oral history project,” he said. “It really captures the history of the library and information that otherwise would have gotten lost. There are a lot of oral history projects out there that are stored at libraries, but this is the first instance of a library capturing its own history.”

Bynog and Zhao co-authored an article about the project that has been accepted for publication in College and Research Libraries News.

The oral history is one of several innovative projects he’s been involved in. Others include the library’s e-journal portal, which provides an easy way for library users to locate periodical titles available in all Fondren’s research databases in one spot, and One Search, which allows users to simultaneously search the Fondren catalog and 50 of the library’s most significant sources of articles and essays. His efforts at innovation extend beyond the hedges too. He served on the North American Serials Interest Group Open Access Proceedings Review Task Force, which is exploring moving its published proceedings to a freely available online environment. As editor for the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Viola Society, he is involved in a project to digitize all the older issues of the publication. He also created the American Viola Project, which aims to publish compositions for viola by American composers and make them freely available on the American Viola Society’s Web site.

“David has the rare quality of profound attention to detail and long-term vision about the future of libraries,” wrote Melinda Reagor Flannery, assistant university librarian for technical services, in her nomination letter. “Far from being fearful of change, he is sometimes ahead of the pack in seeing what should be done and preparing for it.”

Bynog is the ninth recipient of the Shapiro Award since it was first awarded in 2002. Winning the award “means quite a lot, not only because of the past winners but also because I’m very aware of the work my colleagues do,” he said. “There is lots of innovative work going on in the library and so many worthy people who are doing it. I’m very honored.”

The award, which includes a monetary stipend and a plaque, is funded by the estate of Beth Shapiro, who served as university librarian from 1991 until her death in 1995.


About Jennifer Evans

Jennifer Evans is a senior editor in the Rice's Office of Public Affairs.