Berkeley Public Library Foundation

Berkeley Public Library Foundation

The Cody Award

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.


Photo courtesy of: UC Berkeley Library, HoltUncensored, and Wikipedia.

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 2019 recipients of the Cody Award are John and Helen Meyer.

©Jay Blakesberg

What do Bob Dylan, Cal football, and the Berkeley Public Library have in common? They are all the beneficiaries of the mastery, artistry, and technological wizardry of John and Helen Meyer and Meyer Sound Laboratories.

John and Helen founded Meyer Sound in Berkeley 1979, pioneering sound systems that embody John’s vision of how sound can be delivered. In the process, they have changed the way we hear. Their goal is to deliver “linear” sound, as unvarying as a straight line. In concert halls, stadiums, and theaters around the world the results are jaw-droppingly beautiful.

With John driving the technology, Helen focuses on community engagement, enriching the Bay Area and its cultural institutions through both personal involvement and philanthropy. California Memorial Stadium, Berkeley Rep, Zellerbach Hall, California Shakespeare Theater, and our own Authors Dinner are among the many local endeavors that benefit from Meyer Sound systems and generosity.

Today Meyer Sound has 300 employees, holds 60 patents, and continues to advance the science of sound. And, at the helm, John and Helen continue to be generous, steadfast champions of Berkeley’s library, arts, and culture.