In a year where most were stretched thin, Ashlee Huff demonstrated award-worthy flexibility.
Author: Matthew Cook
Photo of Ashlee Huff in front of railing in the quad

Nothing has been as easy as it should be during the pandemic. COVID-19 has turned life’s “difficult” knob to an uncomfortable level, and we’ve only started to see some relief—an experience that has also been made more difficult by the Delta variant. For most of the last year and a half, simple tasks have carried a phantom weight, and naturally challenging work has taken on Sisyphean characteristics. So, when someone isn’t just doing their job but excelling at it, they seem not of this world. The River Campus Libraries (RCL) recognized Ashlee Huff’s superhuman efforts by awarding her the 2021 RCL Staff Service Award.

“I was completely shocked,” Huff says. “I was not expecting it in the slightest. I was like, ‘Really? Me?’ It’s such an honor because there were so many other people worthy of getting the award. And that makes it extra special.”

Huff’s incredulity about receiving the award is pure modesty because she was the unanimous choice among staff members nominated this year.

The award recognizes Huff essentially spending a year being three people. In April 2020, she transitioned to her current role, RCL office manager and human resources representative, while still performing the duties of her previous role, administrative assistant to the dean of the University of Rochester Libraries (until it was filled). On top of that work, she has been fulfilling key responsibilities—such as liaising with the Friends of the University of Rochester Libraries and organizing library events—of a different vacant library position.

Huff’s nominator recalls a moment they were particularly awestruck by this graceful juggling act, prompting them to exclaim, “Ashlee, you are everywhere!”

According to Huff’s nomination, she is also:

 “…prompt, adept, skilled, a fast learner, and delivers outstanding work with a positive and caring disposition.”

“…conscientiousness and comprehensive while producing exceptional results.”

“…an asset to the River Campus Libraries.”

Huff is also passionate about diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA). As a member of the RCL Diversity and Inclusion Committee, she played a critical role in hosting the “Hey, Let’s Talk” sessions during the United Way’s 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge, during which she facilitated discussion of readings and videos. Another passion: helping others.

“Whatever someone needs,” says Huff, “I enjoy helping them get it. I take pride in my ability to provide that service.” ∎

If you would like to congratulate Ashlee Huff on her award or if you’re interested in learning more about her work, feel free to contact her directly at

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