2023 RUSA Federal Achievement Award

Michelle A. Ortiz, Supervisory Librarian, Vicenza and Del Din Library, USAG Italy, ARMY-IMCOM named winner of the RUSA Federal Achievement Award

The Federal Achievement Award, presented by RUSA, recognizes an individual for achievement in the promotion of library and information service and the information profession in the Federal community.

Michelle A. Ortiz

For exemplary promotion of the field of library and information science within the Federal and Armed Forces communities: Michelle Ortiz excelled in the science of compassion and building community as a leader within federal and armed force libraries.  Michelle has provided a model of mentoring professionals and volunteers in information centers, encouraging them in their career advancement, professional development and service to the community. She is a dedicated information professional having served in Air Force, Army and public libraries for 28-year career.” – Award Committee statement

Michelle Ortiz has worked in a variety of libraries, focusing on diversity, inclusion, and belonging.  She has promoted information centers to a wide variety of users within the European and American libraries. These customers include international patron base from military family members, service-members to host-nation citizens, retired military. She has provided a variety of general library programs, youth services, outreach to community, and partnerships within the community, including USO, USAREUR Band, Skies Unlimited program, Child and Youth Services, Army Community Service, Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, as well as partnering initiatives with local libraries in international settings.

Her main emphasis is “people,” enhancing their lives, through provision of user services, and adroit and skilled use of supervisory work-loading. She desires to bring people together, to create a spirit of belonging within community spaces.  During COVID-19, her library’s provision of services utilized a variety of service models, heavily utilized information technology, social media applications, and curb-side services.  She adds the personal touch, of caring and compassion, extending telework flexibilities, advocating for work-life balance for employees, especially during the pandemic.

She takes pride in delivering excellent customer services through social media channels and in-person sessions.  She focuses on people, whether through mentoring activities, managing physical libraries foot-print, or building connections through partnerships and programming.  Finally, Michelle Ortiz has been described as a “kind leader,” whose spirit of leadership stems from compassion and service.

Professional activities and contributions:

  • Michelle Ortiz has a passion for information access, having been active for 28 years, conducting a variety of both technical and public services, from library technician to manager in various libraries.
  • Mentored library professionals throughout her professional career; encouraged military spouses to obtain their MLIS; encouraged those with MLIS degrees to pursue careers in armed forces libraries; encouraged flourishing volunteer programs within libraries.
  • Volunteer position with Wiesbaden Air Base Library, inspired her to transition to employment as a library technician, for Wiesbaden Air Base Library.
  • Library technician, Sullivan Library in Manheim Germany, 1995-1998.
  • Library assistant in summer reading program Appomattox Regional Library System (ARLS), Virginia, 1998;
  • Youth services associate for Timberland Regional Library, Olympia Washington.
  • Obtained MLS from Emporia State University, Kansas, 2004, and worked as the Lead Library Technician in McChord Air Base Library, WA, 2003-2005.
  • Public Services Librarian, Patrick Henry Village, Heidelberg, Germany, 2005-
  • Supervisory Librarian, Vicenza, and Del Din Library, USAG Italy, 2009- 2023.
  • Active in the Army Library Training Institute, ALTI, 2007, 2010, 2011.
  • Presented at Air Force/Navy Librarian’s conference (2003-2005).
  • Active in various working groups, including Library Project 2050, Army IMCOM libraries.
  • Presented programs at Army-Europe Librarians Training.