The Berks County Public Library System and its Board of Directors presented 10 awards for outstanding dedication and support of library services at the 17th Annual Library Awards Celebration on Feb. 27.
System Administrator Amy Resh praised the system's member libraries for all their hard work and dedication that helped make libraries the community powerhouses they are today.
Dreisbach Award for Exemplary Service
The highest honor the System presents, this award went to Reneé Dietrich, Reading Public Library Trustee, for outstanding contributions to public library service development.
“Reneé is a fierce advocate for libraries in Berks County… She has brought sound guidance and the power of “the personal ask” to advancement efforts and, in so doing, has been a guiding force for successful libraries,” wrote Bronwen Gamble, Director of Reading Public Library.
Trustee of the Year
Joanne Yoder, Kutztown Community Library Trustee, was recognized for outstanding leadership of a System library.
“Extraordinary trustees help the Kutztown Community Library grow,” wrote Janet Yost, Kutztown Library director. “Joanne Yoder acted as an amazing nurturer during her 6-year Board term. She worked behind the scenes in a pleasant and unassuming way. She picked up on small details that are often overlooked and took it upon herself to do them in a helpful and friendly way. She kindly cultivated our gardens, set up the picnic grove for the Library Express, and beautified our space. Joanne shared her honest opinions based on knowledge and professional experience for Board decisions.”
Outstanding Elected Official
Bernville Mayor Shawn Raup-Konsavage was recognized for outstanding support of library services.
“He has been a strong supporter and advocate for the library, as well as the community. He has assisted in simplifying several tasks we do at the library and held a fundraiser at his home on Halloween which brought in $361 this year. Shawn has donated many items to our programs… and generated over $1,200 in revenue for the library in under a year. He currently resides on our Board of Trustees where he is a true go-getter and an asset in getting things done. In all his leadership positions, he is more than just a figurehead, and is a valued member of our library and the community," wrote Alicea Rodig, Director of the Bernville Area Community Library.
Outstanding Library Director
Melissa Adams, Muhlenberg Community Library Director, was nominated by Carin Mileshosky, Director of Fleetwood Area Public Library.
“Melissa's work this year on the new Fines and Fees policy alone should earn her the Library Director Certificate of Merit. She took on a very difficult job, going above and beyond what was required to work on a very important project that would affect every library in the county. She did it with efficiency, fairness, and integrity. But Melissa is also a leader in our Berks County Library System by being at the forefront of library services in our area… She is an inspiration and outstanding role model to other Library Directors,” wrote Mileshosky.
Outstanding Community Organization
Northern Berks EMS was recognized for its support of Schuylkill Valley Community Library.
“Our local EMS Company has been an indispensable partner in our programming for various age groups over the years,” wrote Christie Brown, SVC Library Director.
Northern Berks EMS presented interactive children’s programs, read stories, showed kids the ambulance and even allowed kids to see their heartbeats using a monitor. Also, they promote library events through their newsletter and include the library in their events.
Outstanding Local Business
Snapology of Lancaster and Reading was nominated by Andrea Hunter, Youth Services Librarian at Mifflin Community Library.
“As libraries evolve, it is crucial that programming evolves as well. Our partnership with Snaplology has been both exciting and beneficial for our patrons…” wrote Hunter. “Snapology has been flexible, as well as willing to work within our library budget and because of that, children who may not otherwise be able to attend these programs and camps have been able to do so.”
Outstanding Fundraising Effort
This award, presented in recognition of a onetime or ongoing fundraising project that is especially creative or unique, was presented to Muhlenberg Community Library for their Under a Spell at MCL,a Halloween Fundraising Extravaganza.
The event included a Trunk-or-Treat partnering with local businesses, face painting, costume contest, hay-bale maze, crafts, escape room challenge and a movie. Each year there is a special program such as a visit with Charlie Adams.
“This fundraiser is truly a winner because it is fueled by the passion and creativity of the staff. Raising $1,132 and engaging business and community members is just an extra treat in our Halloween fundraising bag,” wrote Melissa Adams, Director of Muhlenberg Community Library.
Outstanding Program Award
Muhlenberg Community Library was also recognized for their program Explore Earth: Our Changing Planet, a traveling exhibit focused on bringing STEM to historically underrepresented populations.
Lina Baer Friend of the Year
Dian Beamesderfer, Womelsdorf Community Library, was recognized for her significant and substantial commitment of time, energy and creativity of a single member of a local library Friends organization.
Chet Hagan Memorial Public Relations Award
This award went to Schuylkill Valley Community Library. The annual PR award was renamed The Chet Hagan Memorial Public Relations Award following his death in 2002 to honor his many contributions to library service development in Berks. The trophy features a hen that dates back to a 1991 workshop focused on the role of effective public relations in securing adequate funding for libraries. The hen refers to fable shared at that workshop: When a goose lays an egg, she waddles off and tells no one. When a hen lays an egg, she announces the fact to all who will hear. As a result, there is usually more demand for hen eggs than for goose eggs. It pays to advertise.