CLIR Distinguished Service Award

2013 Recipient

Nadia Zilper

The ASEEES Committee on Libraries and Information Resources Distinguished Service Award, which was established in 2010, honors ASEEES member librarians, archivists, or curators whose contributions to the field of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies librarianship have been especially noteworthy or influential. The effect of these contributions may be the result of continuous or distinguished service to the profession, but may also be the result of extraordinarily active, innovative, or collaborative work that deserves national recognition.

Honoree: Nadia Zilper

The ASEEES Committee on Libraries and Information Resources is very pleased to present this year’s Distinguished Service Award to Nadia Zilper, who has served the field of Slavic and East European librarianship for nearly forty years, most recently as Department Head of Global Resources and Area Studies and Curator of Slavic and East European Collections and the André Savine Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This prize recognizes outstanding leadership in Slavic, East European and Eurasian librarianship and shows formal appreciation for a recipient’s sustained impact in promoting and strengthening the profession. There is no one more deserving than Ms. Zilper for this honor.

Ms. Zilper has been a formidable leader in developing Slavic and Area Studies library collections. She forged cooperation with U.S. and international institutions that made it possible for UNC to secure regional materials that other libraries found it impossible to obtain. She arranged cooperative collection development and greatly increased acquisitions at UNC by applying the negotiating power of library consortia. She cultivated close relationships with vendors, resulting in offers of rare and unique materials, including the Collection of 18th and 19th Century Russian Law, the Transcaspian Collection, and the André Savine Collection of Russian diaspora materials, Ms. Zilper’s signature effort, which she also developed into the digital collection Russia Beyond Russia: The André Savine Digital Library. During her tenure at UNC, Ms. Zilper built two thirds of what now makes up the Slavic and East European holdings. Ms. Zilper has long been affectionately regarded as “a force to be reckoned with” in the field.

Ms. Zilper brought other riches to UNC. She cultivated close relationships with library donors, resulting in over $1.5 million in funds raised for Slavic and East European collections. She worked successfully to establish an endowment fund for Slavic collections and her innovative business practices inspired a donor to establish an endowment fund for the position of Curator of the Slavic and East European Collections, the first such endowment in the library’s history.

As for sustained impact, Ms. Zilper started her career in Slavic librarianship in 1972, working first at the Lenin Library, then at the Central State Archive of Literature and Arts, followed by a 31-year career at UNC. This included long associations with ASEEES, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, and the International Council for Central and East European Studies.

Ms. Zilper has enriched us all with her warmth, kindness, indomitable energy, and charm. She officially retired from UNC in August 2011, but her impact and legacy in the field of Slavic and East European Librarianship will endure at UNC and beyond. As one close colleague recently commented, “Nadia has been an inspiration to us all and remains a hard act to follow.”