Daniel Handler creates Lemony Snicket Prize for librarians

Handler's award, known as the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced With Adversity, was recently given out for the first time to New Orleans librarian Laurence Copel.

Ann Hermes
A cluster of new homes sits near the levee in the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Author Daniel Handler has created an award for librarians, which was recently given out for the first time and went to a librarian from New Orleans.

Handler, also known as “A Series of Unfortunate Events” writer Lemony Snicket, recently awarded the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced With Adversity to librarian Laurence Copel. Winners of Handler’s prize receive $3,000, in addition to $1,000 for travel expenses (Copel’s prize is being officially given to her at the American Library Association Annual Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas), a certificate, and a "strange item" from Handler.

The librarian who is honored receives the award for “fac[ing] adversity with integrity and dignity intact,” according to the ALA.

According to the ALA, Copel is known to children around her neighborhood as “the book lady.” She created a library in her own home using her own funds and donations and used her bicycle to bring books to those who couldn’t get there.

Handler’s prize, which is co-administered by the Office for Intellectual Freedom and the ALA Governance Office, will be given annually.

Of the prize, Handler said in a statement, “It is of the opinion of Lemony Snicket, author, reader, and alleged malcontent, that librarians have suffered enough…. It is Mr. Snicket's hope, and the ALA's, that the Snicket Prize will remind readers everywhere of the joyous importance of librarians and the trouble that is all too frequently unleashed upon them.”

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