The Cody Award is presented by the Berkeley Public Library Foundation to honor outstanding work to shape, broaden, and illuminate Berkeley’s literary landscape and enrich public libraries. Presentation of the award is a highlight of the Foundation’s annual Authors Dinner.
The award is named for Fred and Pat Cody, founders of Cody’s Books and pioneers in bookselling, supporting small presses, and fighting censorship. The first Cody Award was presented to Pat Cody in 2004, recognizing both her and her late husband Fred.
Dave Kent of Berkeley Mills crafts the award each year from rare, but carefully conserved, exotic woods. Its shape is inspired by the chevron-crowned windows of the historic Reading Room in Berkeley’s downtown Central Library.
The 2018 recipient of the Cody Award is Stephen M. Silberstein.
A library couldn’t ask for a better friend than Steve Silberstein. And the Berkeley Public Library, along with the Belvedere Library over where Steve lives, have been the beneficiaries of his support for just about two decades now. From the early days of his work at Cal, he worked out how computers could become essential to library operations.
With a library degree in hand, he started Innovative Interfaces, Inc. One writer called Innovative’s product “the Silberstein and co. gadget.” The software enabled the Global Digital Library, used by 10,000 libraries in 66 countries.
Steve is the father of the Free Speech Café on the Berkeley campus, and a supporter of the annual Mario Savio lecture at Cal. And he’s behind the national popular vote movement to reform the Electoral College. But to our way of mind, his sixteen years of support for the Authors Dinner and the campaigns to rebuild Berkeley’s libraries make Steve Silberstein the best of friends to our libraries and a worthy recipient of the Fred and Pat Cody award.