Librarian of the Year is TU alumnus

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Craig Buthod honored with 2010 national award

Craig ButhodThe past 18 months have been a whirlwind for University of Tulsa alumnus Craig Buthod (BS ’76), who’s been honored with the national 2010 Librarian of the Year award.

“As an undergrad, I literally haunted the stacks at McFarlin Library, running a parallel path to my formal education. I was there every day, whether my class assignments required it or not,” he said.

Buthod’s ties to TU are far-reaching: His father, Jack Buthod (BS ’40); uncle Paul Buthod (BS ’39, MS ’43); aunt Helen (Buthod) Hayes (BA ’47); sister Diane (Buthod) Burton (BS ’72, MA ’90, PhD ’03); brother Don (BA ’76); sister Lee (Buthod) Trahan (BA ’83); sister Barbara (Buthod) McCallum (BA ’86); niece Johanna Burton (MFA ’08); and wife, Tomese (Sieminskie) Buthod (BS ’82) are all alumni. Diane now teaches in the English Department, and Helen’s husband, John Hayes (BS ’48), was a TU vice president for finance.

“Attending TU was always just a part of being a Tulsan,” Craig Buthod said during a recent visit to campus. He credits TU professors such as Jim Watson (English) and former TU President Ben Henneke with spurring his interest in literature and his desire to succeed.

Buthod has been director of the Louisville Free Public Library since 2000. Before that he was with the Seattle Public Library for six years and the Tulsa City-County Library for 17 years.

“Libraries, for me, have always been about self-education, self-improvement,” he said, noting that the availability of books is especially important for children “who are ravenous for information and knowledge.”

A few months before he was selected for this year’s award by Library Journal, he experienced one of the lowest lows he’d ever felt: A massive flood devastated the main Louisville library, causing almost $8 million in damage.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Buthod vowed to repair “200 percent” of the damage and make the main branch even better than it had been. Using insurance money and his own fundraising savvy, he led the restoration and the project was completed earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Buthod moved ahead on other important projects despite a lack of public funds. Just one week after the flood, he opened a branch in a minority community that had never had a library.

Along the way, Buthod has implemented many initiatives to benefit library patrons and the community at large, including:

  • Student Power Plus Card, which serves as a school ID and gives children access to all Louisville library resources as well as other programs in the area
  • Gutenberg Louisville, which placed rare broadsides and a facsimile Gutenberg press on exhibit for more than 100,000 people
  • Words for Music, which brought in a series of famous songwriters for library audiences that averaged 700
  • Iroquois Reads, which offers books, programming and services in several different languages (such as Spanish, Vietnamese and Arabic) and for many international cultures (such as Mexican, French and Russian)


Mona Chamberlin