The theme for this year’s National Library Week is “Libraries = Strong Communities,” and it’s fitting; The State of America’s Libraries 2019 shows how libraries and library workers are addressing community challenges such as homelessness and drug addiction as well as providing innovative resources, workshops, and programs for their communities.
April 9 is National Library Workers Day, a day to recognize the hard work, dedication, and expertise of library support staff and librarians. To celebrate library workers, the American Library Association–Allied Professional Association (ALA–APA) asked patrons to nominate stellar library workers from their libraries. Below are some of the nominations included in the Galaxy of Stars on ALA–APA’s National Library Workers Day website.
“Stephanie Askeland from a public library in Yukon, Oklahoma, is a Star because she is a phenomenal children’s librarian. Each week, Stephanie provides dynamic baby story fun for babies and parents, and preschool storytimes that are always full of fun, action, and crafts. In addition, she plans and implements elementary children’s programs each month and the best summer reading programs!” – Carla
“Nancy Adam-Turner from an academic library in Bluefield, West Virginia, is a Star because anyone who knows Dr. Adam-Turner will tell you she is a ‘people person’ and that no question is too small or simple. She believes is helping everyone find the information they need and how to access/use the digital technology. Not to mention she is also often on call 24/7 via the library’s ‘Ask Librarian’ email form. She does community outreach by going to the local middle school and assisting teachers with digital literacy instruction, introducing the makerspace STEAM projects. She has developed Bluefield State College’s library digital services and digital instruction for 10 years now and continues to enhance the programs and services to benefit all community users.”—Kathy
“Rachelle Brandel from a public library in Ferguson, Missouri, is a Star because her passion for serving the public is out of this world! Her focus is always on how best to provide for her patrons that which will benefit them most. She facilitates frequent discussions with the staff at her library on this very topic. In the nine months at her current library, Rachelle has started numerous new programs, from résumé writing training/assistance, to sessions on foreign cultures. She has also written and submitted multiple grant requests, many of which have been awarded to the library. You can run into any one of Rachelle’s patrons and will most certainly hear how much they appreciate her. These are simply a few of the reasons Rachelle is a Star!”—Sandy
“Kathy Dugan from a special library in Cleveland, Ohio, is a Star because she has helped to direct and grow the Cleveland Law Library over the past 16 years. She knows nearly every patron by name and is knowledgeable of every holding in our collection. The Cleveland Law Library would not be what it is today without Kathy.”—Ashley
“Ben Iglar-Mobley from a public library in Oak Park, Illinois, is a Star because he is a library evangelist. He lets everyone know that libraries are for everyone, and he embodies the welcoming and judgment-free environment that libraries aspire to. He welcomes every patron, he literally wears buttons that say ‘you matter’ to remind all our patrons of their importance, and he is extremely patient and kind. He is a role model for providing excellent customer service and is always advocating for libraries. For this and more, he is a Star!”—Alexandra
“Tanika Johnson from a public library in Plain Dealing, Louisiana, is a Star because she goes above and beyond to help the staff and the patrons excel in every way. Since she became the branch manager in Plain Dealing, there’s a difference in how the patron interacts with the staff and they feel like this truly is their library. Tanika is always coming up with different ideas and ways to get the patron coming and involved with the library. She is very hands-on and smart; we appreciate her for all the hard work she’s putting into this community.”—Brenda
“Sarah Jones from an academic library in Las Vegas is a Star because she has successfully led a division-wide priority project in reducing our libraries’ archival backlog, helped to strengthen our processing practices regarding sensitive materials, and continues to lead her growing project team with tact and patience. She is an incredible asset to the university libraries and is a great role model!”—Anonymous
“Jennisen Lucas from a school library in Cody, Wyoming, is a Star because she works tirelessly to support students and their right to choose what they read!”—Paige
“Jodi Ohlson from a public library in Arivaca, Arizona, is a Star because she is the best! If we’d searched the world over, our little village couldn’t have found a better fit. She is wonderfully creative, and she has a terrific sense of humor. She is dedicated to the work of serving the special needs of our unique rural community. She’s patient with all our quirks and eccentricities, and she brings new and wonderful services to us that we never even knew existed. Her knowledge of books of various genres is extensive, so she can always make wonderful recommendations to patrons. She has also gathered a wonderful staff who work together well as a team to keep things running smoothly under her inspired direction. No problem seems too big or too small to get her full attention. She is definitely a Star!”—Anonymous
“Roy Thomas from a public library in Kodiak, Alaska, is a Star because Roy, our youth services librarian, creates enjoyable literacy activities for all ages, and he is always willing to help out with patrons. He also manages our volunteers and keeps them happy, too.”—Laurene
“Alice Wolff from a school library in Matteson, Illinois, is a Star because to a new library support staff member pursuing certification in Illinois, Mrs. Wolff has adopted me and has been a guiding star. Her moral compass points true north, and I admire her fervor, love for students, and her passion for library science and information technology. Truly a gem among the firmament.”—Dr. Thomas