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Library Accolades


You have many reasons to be proud of your library and many reasons to have faith in your library's commitment to excellence. Here are just a few recent awards and endorsements from local and national organizations.

Lissa Staley 2024 Library Journal Mover & Shaker

Lissa StaleyCommunity Connections Librarian Lissa Staley received a 2024 Library Journal Mover & Shaker award as a Community Builder.

"This is a prestigious award for libraries and we are proud Lissa has been recognized for all her work with community organizations and individuals in Topeka and Shawnee County," said Marie Pyko, library CEO.

Staley's work includes coordinating community navigators to provide individuals walk-in assistance at the library to identify needs and make referrals. She supports voter education and non-profit organizations, coordinates library trivia and the local National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) activities. Staley said she enjoys helping people make connections to the community and each other. This is all in addition to helping people find great reads and access library resources.

“Our 2024 Movers represent a range of innovative, proactive, and supportive work; they are imaginative and kind and brave in a world that needs those qualities—and the results they produce—very much,” said Library Journal Executive Editor Lisa Peet.

LeAnn Brungardt named to Leadership Topeka Class of 2024

LeAnn in early readersYouth Services Supervisor LeAnn Brungardt was selected to participate in Leadership Greater Topeka 2024. Brungardt supervises the Kids Library staff and outreach storytellers who visit area daycares and preschools.

A program of the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Greater Topeka identifies outstanding potential leaders from across the community and teaches them how to lead in a community setting. The goals are to challenge and motivate traditional and non-traditional leaders by teaching adaptive leadership competencies through information, dialogue and hands-on experience, so participants are better prepared to strengthen and transform our community. Class members attended a retreat and eight day-long sessions to learn about challenges facing the City of Topeka and Shawnee County, and how they can work to influence community issues and problems.

Alice C. Sabatini Gallery wins 2023 People's Choice Arty Award

arty award“This year’s honorees really exemplify how the arts can be a source of richness in all aspects of life. They show us how we can center the arts in our conversations about history and the importance of cultural representation and understanding. They demonstrate how both arts and non-arts stakeholders can serve as critical advocates for ensuring that the arts – and artists – thrive in Topeka,” said Sarah Fizell, executive director of ArtsConnect. “It is important to shine a light of gratitude and recognition on artists in our community. They are the ones who will blaze our path forward. Their success is inextricably linked to our success as a community, and it is important to take a moment to stop and recognize what that means.”

Library wins 2023 En Point Award from Ballet Midwest

ballet at storytimeThe library received an En Point Award from Ballet Midwest for years of support, which includes a special Musical Storytime with ballerinas from each year's Ballet Midwest Nutcraker performance.

Local history librarian wins 2023 Kansas Association of Broadcasters Award

Katie Katie Keckeisen, local history librarian, won second place in the Editorial Commentary category in the Medium Market Radio Division for the Kansas Association of Broadcasters Annual Awards. The award was for her piece "Remembering Black Sunday: April 14, 1935." The awards will be given out at their annual conference in October.

Library wins 2022 Silver Medals from Topeka Chapter of American Advertising Federation

The library won two Silver Medals for marketing videos. The award for Film, Video & Sound Branded Content & Entertainment for Online - More than 60 seconds was for the Beyond Boundaries video created in collaboration with Imagemakers. The award for Film, Video & Sound Internet Commercial Single Spot - Any Length was for the Family Storytime and Conversations video The Circle. Both videos were created by Michael Perkins, the library's Web Administrator and Multimedia producer.  


Circle video


More accolades

Radio broadcast with library CEO wins 2022 Kansas Association of Broadcasters Award

marieThe Kansas Public Radio Queen's Gambit on-air book club May 2021 won first-place in the Kansas Association of Broadcasters' Multi-Media/Digital category (medium market radio). Library CEO Marie Pyko was a moderator with KPR’s Kaye McIntyre, Kelly Barker and Logan Camarda.

Library named a 2022 YWCA Employer of Excellence

BuildingAt the YWCA Northeast Kansas 34th Annual Women of Excellence the library was named an Employer of Excellence for supporting employee learning and staff development.

When you think about our library, you think about books, a beautiful building, technology and cultural events. Our biggest reward is when our customers tell us the library is a trusted resource and appreciate our commitment to customer service. Our staff works together to make your life better.

“We value excellence, curiosity, literacy, freedom, teamwork and accountability,” said library CEO Marie Pyko. “Library staff are readers, learners, educators, movie watchers, music fans and musicians, artists and art appreciators. Our staff are conductors of fun who create experiences of playful, sneaky learning and meet our community’s diverse needs for all ages and interests."

The library has an impact goal that our staff will be continuous learners who are dynamic, energized and take on leadership roles in the community. We support staff in their pursuit of life-long learning through Library Foundation and Friends of the Library scholarships for completing or continuing their education, and family-friendly policies that maintain a balance between our employee’s personal and professional responsibilities.

Sherry Hess named a 2022 YWCA Woman of Excellence

Sherry HessThis is the 34th year the YWCA Northeast Kansas is uplifting and celebrating the outstanding contributions of women leaders in our community who get up and do the work. The library's Early Childhood Learning Coordinator Sherry Hess is one of the women recognized this year. She is focused on engaging young children and their families in play-based early learning experiences. The Learn & Play Bus and its service are at the heart of her work. Hess has a background in early childhood education.

"I’m inspired by the library goal to have every child ready for kindergarten and by the parents, caregivers and kids I work with on the Learn & Play Bus and at the library," said Hess. "I am also inspired by my co-workers and colleagues in the community. Their work on behalf of young children and their parents and caregivers is phenomenal. We excel when we surround ourselves with others who have a similar commitment, talent and passion. I am so fortunate to work with incredibly talented and amazing people."

Autumn Friedli named to Leadership Topeka Class of 2022

Autumn FriedliPublic Services Supervisor Autumn Friedli was selected to participate in Leadership Greater Topeka 2022. Friedli supervises the readers team, which includes the senior services and other staff who primarily focus on reading.

A program of the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Greater Topeka identifies outstanding potential leaders from across the community and teaches them how to lead in a community setting. The goals are to challenge and motivate traditional and non-traditional leaders by teaching adaptive leadership competencies through information, dialogue and hands-on experience, so participants are better prepared to strengthen and transform our community. Class members attended a retreat and eight day-long sessions to learn about challenges facing the City of Topeka and Shawnee County, and how they can work to influence community issues and problems.

Angie Reed & Debbie Stanton Receive 2022 Crawford Scholarship

Angie Reed and Debbie Stanton were awarded the 2022 Dick and Donna Crawford Scholarship by The Library Foundation. The Dick and Donna Crawford Scholarship was created to provide financial resources for continuing education opportunities for library employees. This includes but is not limited to educational courses, trainings and certification courses.

Angie ReedReed is currently a Teen Services Librarian seeking her MLS from Texas Woman’s University. Angie said seeking a degree from a school outside of our region will allow her to bring new ideas to the library as she collaborates with peers outside our area.

Debbie StantonStanton is currently pursuing a Museum Studies Certificate from the Institute of American Indian Arts. The program focuses on the cultural aspects of museum studies such as evaluating indigenous concerns through the lens of cultural heritage institutions. She looks forward to bringing her experiences and learning immediately back to our library.


Previous years


Kyler Carpenter receives ArtsConnect Liz Stratton Arts Champion Award

KylerKyler Carpenter is a household name for parents and grandparents all across Topeka. He has spent years sharing his love of music with young people in Topeka. Whether he’s singing and dancing in Musical Storytime at the library or hosting the weekly “Kid’s Jam” in the summer, Kyler’s hard work, dedication and belief in the power of the arts to change lives has helped to build young talent, encouraging performance, passion for music and self-confidence.

Sherri Camp Named a 2021 YWCA Woman of Excellence

Sherri CampThis is the 33nd year the YWCA Northeast Kansas recognizes how essential women are to their workplaces and to their communities, equally in times of crisis as in times of peace. The library's Genealogy Librarian Sherri Camp is one of the women recognized this year.

Camp is a fierce advocate for ensuring all stories and histories are represented, honored and celebrated in Topeka. She is a charter member on the planning and implementation for the annual Juneteenth celebrations. Camp works tirelessly to honor the legacy of Brown V. Board through annual celebrations. She is a strong community connector within our city, striving to enure we celebrate all diverse voices in Topeka through discovering and honoring their genealogy and history.

Erin Aldridge Named to 2021 Jayhawk Area Council's Top 20 Under 40

Erin AldridgeTopeka’s Top “20 Under 40” award honors members of the Topeka and Shawnee County community for their commitment and contributions both professionally and personally. The Library Foundation Executive Director Erin Aldridge is of this year's award recipients.

As the Foundation's Executive Director, Aldridge is responsible for working with library staff to provide opportunities for community members to “live their best life.” Programs and services like the children's art exhibit, bookmobiles and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library would not be possible without the support of The Library Foundation. Aldridge collaborates and engages Foundation’s Trustees to carry out the obligations of the development and management agreement with the library - guiding growth, investment and use of assets and financial resources. In her first year, Aldridge out raised and outpaced contributions from the three prior years by more than 50 percent - despite the pandemic.

Aldridge is no stranger to Topeka’s 20 Under 40. For more seven years she was the Development Director for the Jayhawk Area Council, Boy Scouts of America and stewarded the signature fundraiser to where it is today. She’s making our community a better place as a connector and communicator. As a volunteer with Junior League of Topeka since 2014, Aldridge has held several roles - including President. She currently is the Governance Transformation Chair. Aldridge also serves as the Committee Chair for Scouts BSA Troop 12, one of the first Scouts BSA Troops for girls in the Shawnee County Area in addition to being an active parent with the Topeka Swim Association.

As an advocate to not only build but recognize stronger leaders for Topeka’s future, Aldridge positions herself to help navigate individuals to situations that will create opportunities for them to grow. Aldridge said, “Throughout my leadership journey, I have seen others struggle. It wasn’t that they weren’t good leaders, but more that they weren’t in the right positions. I’m often able to step back from a situation and see a path that they cannot see for themselves.”

Lissa Staley Certified Leadership Coach

Lissa StaleyCommunity Connections Librarian Lissa Staley completed the Kansas Leadership Center's (KLC) Leadership Coaching Program in January 2021. To achieve this, Staley completed 60 hours of International Coach Federation approved coach training and demonstrated her proficiency and readiness to coach using the KLC competencies and principles.

As part of her work as Community Connections Librarian Staley helps groups work better together in our community, helps individuals make progress on their leadership challenges, and incorporates a coaching mindset into her work.

Kim Strube Named to Leadership Topeka Class of 2021

Kim StrubeChief Financial Officer Kim Strube was selected to participate in Leadership Greater Topeka 2021. A program of the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Greater Topeka identifies outstanding potential leaders from across the community and teaches them how to lead in a community setting.

The goals are to challenge and motivate traditional and non-traditional leaders by teaching adaptive leadership competencies through information, dialogue and hands-on experience, so participants are better prepared to strengthen and transform our community. Class members attended a retreat and eight day-long sessions to learn about challenges facing the City of Topeka and Shawnee County, and how they can work to influence community issues and problems.


Meredith Snepp Appointed to Kansas Supreme Court's Access to Justice Committee

sneppBusiness librarian Meredith Snepp is a member of Kansas Supreme Court's Access to Justice Committee. The committee  makes recommendations to the Kansas Supreme Court about expanding access to the courts and removing barriers to assure equal justice for everyone involved with the courts. The focus of this committee is to advocate for a self-represented litigant.

Much of Snepp's work within the library is designed to help people be self-sufficient and understand what they need to do to complete a process. She has a strong working relationship with Kansas Legal Services, the State Law Library and Washburn University School of Law. These partnerships allow the library to all help each other learn, advocate, and assist our community with legal needs. Snepp will serve a 2-year term with the option of an additional 3-year term.

Debbie Stanton Named to Leadership Topeka Class of 2020

Debbie StantonPublic services supervisor Debbie Stanton was selected to participate in Leadership Greater Topeka 2020. A program of the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Greater Topeka identifies outstanding potential leaders from across the community and teaches them how to lead in a community setting.

The goals are to challenge and motivate traditional and non-traditional leaders by teaching adaptive leadership competencies through information, dialogue and hands-on experience, so participants are better prepared to strengthen and transform our community. Class members attended a retreat and eight day-long sessions to learn about challenges facing the City of Topeka and Shawnee County, and how they can work to influence community issues and problems.

Gina Millsap Retires as Library CEO

gina millsapChief Executive Officer Gina Millsap retired on Dec 1, 2020. Millsap served in that position since Aug 2005. The Board passed a resolution on Nov 19, 2020, honoring Millsap's accomplishments.

Millsap's retirement ended her 45-year career working in libraries, but not her love and advocacy for them. During her tenure in Topeka Millsap was instrumental in TSCPL being selected Library of the Year in 2016 and establishing the library as a respected and popular community resource. She has been a champion for literacy and learning, for working with partners from all sectors of the community, and for digital inclusion. Millsap highlighted the importance of community broadband to ensure all citizens have access to information and resources to participate fully in civic life.

“I have been so fortunate to have worked in three of the finest public libraries in the country,” said Millsap. “The librarian profession and libraries have ancient roots and yet what I love most about libraries is their inclusiveness and their agility in continually adapting and changing to meet the needs and goals of their communities. That is what I have tried to facilitate throughout my career.”

Haley DaVee and Kristen O'Shea Named to 2020 Jayhawk Area Council's Top 20 Under 40

Topeka’s Top “20 Under 40” award honors members of the Topeka and Shawnee County community for their commitment and contributions both professionally and personally. Two of this year's award recipients serve on a library board. Haley DaVee is a member of The Library Foundation Board of Trustees and Kristen O'Shea is a member of the Library Board of Trustees.

Hayley DaVeeDaVee, Executive Vice President of Heartland Credit Union Association, is financially savvy and passionate about setting up customers up for success. She said it is unbelievably gratifying to know she is part of helping credit unions in Kansas and Missouri thrive by serving more members and as a direct result of the work accomplished through the association. Professionally, DaVee also is on the Board of Directors of the Kansas Cooperative Council, member of the Political Involvement and Grassroots Committee of the American Association of Credit Union Leagues, and a member of the Kansas Society of Association Executives and the American Society of Association Executives.

Serving her community, Haley is a member of Junior League of Topeka and currently serves as the Director of Sustaining Relations. DaVee believes that it is important to invest in your community and she believes her time and attention to bedrock organizations in our community will leave a lasting impact on generations to come.

"I believe that a leader finds the right person with the right attitude and skill set for the role and then works to develop them to their full potential," said DaVee.

Kristen OSheaIn 2017, Kristen O’Shea founded O’Shea Strengths Coaching to help others identify their talents and put them into action to do what they do best every day. She provides one-on-one coaching, facilitation or team workshops, and consults on long-term change projects to ultimately drive outcomes of engagement and well-being in the organizations and individuals.

O'Shea serves on the National Committee for Young Women in the Lutheran Women's Missionary League where she provides guidance to the national committee on all matters of women age 18-40’s involvement. The committee also created national bible study for each of the 50 state’s young women representatives. Additionally, O'Shea is president of the Alpha Delta Pi, Kansas State University Building Association.

“I am very proud to lead others to better understand and apply their strengths!” said O'Shea.

Erin Aldridge Named a 2020 YWCA Woman of Excellence

Erin AldridgeThis is the 32nd year the YWCA Northeast Kansas recognizes how essential women are to their workplaces and to their communities, equally in times of crisis as in times of peace. The Library Foundation Director Erin Aldridge is one of the women recognized this year.

Aldridge was nominated for the YWCA Women of Excellence Award based on her work with the Junior League of Topeka. She joined Junior League into 2014 and was named the 2014- 2015 New Member MVP for her work with Sustainer Relations and on a special funding committee. Aldridge served on the board as Vice President of Community Impact from 2017-2018 during which she led the Issue Based Community Impact Transformation process ultimately resulting in the selection of the issue area “Child welfare as impacted by violence and community instability.” During this time frame, Aldridge worked closely with Community Action to transition the Diaper Depot to their program offerings. As President from 2018-2020, Aldridge led the charge to create a comprehensive five-year strategic plan for the League.

2019 & 2018

Donna Rae Pearson Recognized for Work in Tennessee Town

Donna RaeIn October 2019, Local History Librarian Donna Rae Pearson was formally recognized by the Shiloh Baptist Church for her support and active involvement in the Tennessee Town community, a neighborhood settled by Exodusters – formerly enslaved African Americans who migrated from Tennessee to the north after the Civil War.

Sherri Camp Wins Silver Anvil Award from Public Relations Society of America

silver anvil awardGenealogy Librarian Sherri Camp and partners in the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society and FamilySearch were awarded the Public Relations Society of America’s 2018 Silver Anvil Award for Integrated Communications for the Historic Freedmen’s Bureau Project. Camp traveled to Philadelphia to accept the trophy with her colleagues from AAHGS. The winning crowdsourcing project enlisted the help of 25,000 volunteers from around the world to index and transcribe nearly 1.8 million African American historical documents into a searchable online database. Read more about the project and Silver Anvil Award.

Betsy Roe Wins Outstanding Art Educator 2018-2019

Betsy RoeIn October 2018 Betsy Roe, associate curator/educator in the library's Alice C. Sabatini Gallery received the Outstanding Art Educator Museum Education award from the Kansas Art Education Association. Betsy leads several regular art events for the library including Art Detectives, Art in Common, Art & You and STEAM Power. She also leads an annual program that enables a small group of local high school students to curate an art exhibit in the Sabatini Gallery. As an artist, Betsy's work is sculptural fibers and focuses on ecological concerns such as the preservation of Kansas prairies in the Flint Hills.


Library receives Women Empowerment Prevention Award

logoIn July 2017 the library received the Women Empowerment Prevention Award from Women Empowerment, Inc. This award is given annually to a community partner that demonstrates exceptional service and dedication to our youth and community, while acting on behalf of Women Empowerment, Inc. It is a prestigious honor that serves to recognize the best of the best within our community. During 2011, the library supported Women Empowerment's Save Your Self program as a pilot with excitement and gusto. Fast Forward to 2017, Women Empowerment hosts more than 200 young girls annually at various locations throughout the county.

Shawnee County receives Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Honors

kids reading in the libraryIn June 2017 the library was part of a group of Shawnee County leaders to receive Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Honors for the county being a 2016 Pacesetter Community by demonstrating exemplary work in meeting the criteria for one or more aspects of the Campaign's framework for success, scale and sustainability. The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading focuses on reading proficiency by the end of third grade, with a goal of ensuring that children from low-income families succeed in school and graduate from high school prepared for college, a career and active citizenship. Shawnee County's leadership is making a significant contribution toward achieving that goal.

Donna Rae Pearson judges Kansas History Day State Contest

Donna RaeLocal history librarian Donna Rae Pearson served as a judge for the Kansas History Day State Contest in April 2017. Students in grades 6 - 12 participated in the contest held at Washburn University. Students presented their research projects around the 2017 theme Taking a Stand in History.

The presentations included dramatic performances, documentaries, research papers, websites and three-dimensional exhibits.

treeLibrary IT work highlighted in technology magazine

The library's Digital Services staff members Joey Embers, David King and Brian Mithen were interviewed for a StateTech magazine article

Library staff were interviewed on the Hyperconverged system they recently installed in the library's data center. StateTech is a national trade publication for state and local government technology.

Library leaders present at 2017 Computers in Libraries Conference

Gina and DavidLibrary CEO Gina Millsap presented the keynote presentation, a breakout presentation and was part of a panel discussion at the Computers in Libraries annual conference in March 2017.

The library's Director of Digital Services David King presented a half-day workshop on technology trends at the conference. Millsap shared her secrets to becoming a role model for libraries around the world. She discussed how the roles of librarians and libraries are changing to be community leaders and change agents. Librarians are the new superheroes - developing new toolkits, skills and relationships to facilitate positive change in their communities.

Michael Perkins and the Learn and Play BusLibrary wins gold and silver at AAF Awards

The library won top honors at the American Advertising Awards annual recognition of design professionals on February 4, 2017. The Learn & Play Bus mural wrap, designed by Michael Perkins, earned a Gold award in the "Out-Of-Home and Ambient Media Public Service" category. Perkins was also recognized with a Silver award for the National Library Week Celebrity Librarians READ posters. He photographed the celebrities and used those photos in his design of the 12 READ posters.

Kari Zimmerman named to Leadership Topeka Class of 2017

Kari ZimmermanThe library's Volunteer Coordinator Kari Zimmerman was selected to participate in Leadership Greater Topeka 2017. A program of the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Greater Topeka identifies outstanding potential leaders from across the community and teaches them how to lead in a community setting. Thirty-six class members attended a retreat and eight day-long sessions between January 12 and May 5 to learn about challenges facing the City of Topeka and Shawnee County, and how they can work to influence community issues and problems.

Book Rich Environment Initiative

Books Stacked UpTopeka and Shawnee County Public Library is one of 35 libraries invited to participate in the Book Rich Environments (BRE) Initiative. BRE is the first national initiative that brings the local public library and public housing agencies together on behalf of children and families living in public housing. BRE was formally launched on January 5, 2017, in Washington, D.C. The Urban Libraries Council identified our library as a potential partner because of our collaboration with the Topeka Housing Authority.


Library wins Library of the Year award

Library of the YearEach year, Library Journal looks for role model libraries to vie for the honor of being named the Library Journal / Gale Cengage Learning Library of the Year. More than 9,595 public libraries in the U.S. and Canada are eligible to apply for the $10,000 prize celebrating the library that most profoundly demonstrates creativity, innovation, leadership and outstanding service to its community. As the 2016 Library of the Year, the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library was the Library Journal cover story on June 15, 2016 and was honored with a gala reception by the American Library Association June 26, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Past winners have gained immeasurable prestige within North America and their home communities, and considerable national media coverage. It is an honor that resonates for a lifetime.

Cindy Hohl awarded ALA Spectrum Scholarship

cindy hohlThe American Library Association's (ALA) Office for Diversity awards 2016-2017 Spectrum Scholarships to 61 exceptional students pursuing graduate degrees in library and information studies. Our library's own Customer Experience Manager, Cindy Hohl, was an awardee. In the 2016 application cycle, the Spectrum Scholarship Program received three times as many applications as there were available scholarships, and the majority of this year’s applicants were deemed highly fundable. A prestigious committee of 10 jurors selected this year’s Spectrum Scholars based on their commitment to diversity, commitment to entering the library profession, demonstrated community outreach, academic ability and achievements and leadership potential.

Nate Hohl presented nationally on sports and libraries

Nate HohlRed Carpet librarian Nate Hohl delivered the presentation titled "Engaging Sports Fans at Your Library,"at Public Library Association Conference in January 2016, which was named by Publishers Weekly as a "can't-miss panel." Hohl also presented for Florida Library Webinars on August 2, 2016.

Lissa Staley named "20 Under 40"

Lissa StaleyTopeka's "20 Under 40" is designed to promote mentorship and professional development by introducing local leaders to the established business community and by promoting them as role models for the younger Topeka generations. Each year the program receives more than 200 nominations and over 100 applications. Staley was honored for her work at the library and her leadership in the writing community of Topeka. Lissa Staley honored in TK Topeka Business Magazine Lissa Staley - 2016 - 20 Under 40 from WIBW-TV on Vimeo.

Capitol Federal® Foundation honored

United for Libraries logoThe Capitol Federal® Foundation has been honored with a Major Benefactor Citation from United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association. Their $200,000 gift enabled the library to purchase a new bookmobile that replaced a 21-year-old vehicle. The Library Foundation nominated the Capitol Federal® Foundation for the award earlier this year. The Major Benefactor Citation gives national recognition to a corporate body that has made a major gift to a library and shows the local community, as well as the nation as a whole, how truly appreciated these major gifts are to supporting libraries and to sustaining their vital roles in their respective communities. Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library Chief Executive Officer, Gina Millsap, presented the award to Capitol Federal® Financial president and chief executive officer, John Dicus and Capitol Federal® Foundation president Tammy Dishman. Both the library and the Capitol Federal® Foundation received plaques for display.

Staley judges Library Journal's Indie Ebook Awards

self-eLibrarian Lissa Staley is a 2016 judge for the romance category of Library Journal’s Indie Ebook Awards. The top three books in each category also receive professional reviews in Library Journal’s print magazine and blog, which she will write for the romance winners. Also in 2016, she wrote an article “Finding Love in the Library: Embracing Indie Romance Books,” interviewing librarians and writers on the stigma associated with romance novels and self-published books.

Schawo shares tech tips with YWCA Network

shari schawoLibrarian and computer training professional Shari Schawo was a guest speaker at the YWCA Network Luncheon and was reported in the Topeka Capital-Journal for her presentation. She spoke to 30 women about how to find the right smartphone or tablet. In her role at the library, Shari is proficient in utilizing technology and educating people on how to use smartphones and tablets.

Sewell presents "Shoot me an email, library style," in Novelist webinar

NovelistLeah Sewell, Communications Editor, represented our library in an online webinar with Novelist in May 2016. There were more than 1,000 registered participants for this webinar in which Leah discussed the unique way we communicate through e-newsletters. Sending out the e-newsletters allows us to keep customers promptly updated about services and events, while being easily accessible. We have more than 43,000 subscribers to the e-newsletters.

SME High Performance Seminar features Hohl

cindy hohlCindy Hohl, Customer Experience Manager, presented for the Sales and Marketing Executives of Topeka (SME) in March 2016 on the customer experience. She shared her expertise on the customer experience and how you can anticipate customer needs by evoking long-term relationships with customers.

King presents on new technologydavid king

In 2016, David Lee King, Director of Digital Services, has given presentations locally and in Washington, D.C. about online business promotions, emerging technology trends and user experience best practices in 2016. He represented Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library in the following Computers and Libraries presentations:

He also represented the library in the SME High Performance seminar How to Promote your Business in the Digital Age with David Lee King in January 2016 where he discussed how to use video to increase business sales.

Kobs and Sewell receive ADDY Awards

AddyThe American Advertising Federation (AAF) of Topeka rewarded two of the library's Communications and Marketing staff, Leah Sewell and Richard Kobs, with ADDY Awards. This award is given to those who excel in the advertising industry. Sewell, the Communications Editor, was awarded a silver ADDY for her work on the library's e-newsletter, Library News Update. Richard Kobs, the Art Director, received a gold award for his design of the Alice in Wonderland bookmobile wrap.

Friend named Executive of the Month

diana friendIn 2016, Diana Friend, Director of Communications and Marketing, was named SME's Executive of the Month in June 2016. She also serves as a member of the SME board of directors, is the chair of the continuing education committee and coordinates the High Performance Seminar series.

Millsap leads ALA Advocacy Program

gina millsapIn 2016, Gina Millsap is the Chair of the American Library Association Advocacy Program and the Chief Executive Officer for the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Public Library Association and a member of the Board of Directors for LYRASIS.

Ericsson appointed to Kansas Notables Committee

MirandaMiranda Ericsson, librarian and creative writing expert, had the honor of representing the library as part of the Kansas Notables Committee in 2015-2016. She was one of the librarians given the chance to help choose 15 titles in relation to Kansas or by Kansas authors that would receive an extraordinary award. These books are displayed as part of the Kansas Book Festival as well as at literary events.


Library named a 4-star library in 2015

Library Journal 2015The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library has been recognized as a 4-Star Library by Library Journal. Star libraries are identified based on the success of their output – circulation numbers, program attendance and community use of services.

Staley facilitates Community Health Improvement Plan

Lissa StahleyLissa Staley is the library's health information librarian and co-chair of the Healthy Eating and Active Living workgroup at Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods as a library representative. She helped community members and service providers to create goals, strategies and opportunities for community action for the Community Health Improvement Plan based on areas of focus identified in the 2012 Community Health Needs Assessment for Shawnee County. She worked on the project for 16 months and presented it to the Shawnee County Board of Health in April 2015.

Library wins 2015 LibraryAware Community Award

The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library was given a 2015 LibraryAware Community Award by Library Journal and underwritten by LibraryAware™, a product of the NoveList division of EBSCO Information Services. The Dothan Houston County Library System in Alabama was the first place recipient, Saint Paul Public Library in Minnesota was awarded second place, while third place went to Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library. The award recognizes model communities that engage with their libraries to improve the lives of their citizens and create life-long learners.

King appointed to ALA Nominating Committee

david kingDavid Lee King, director of digital services, has been appointed to the American Library Association’s (ALA) Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee builds a slate of candidates for the association that include the President–elect, Treasurer and Councilor-at-Large. An ALA member can only be appointed to the Nominating Committee once, and it’s a great honor to be appointed.

Community Novel Project featured in American Libraries Magazine

Lissa StaleyThe library's own innovative Community Novel Project was featured in a Trends/Perspectives article in American Libraries magazine. The article was authored by our own Lissa Staley, librarian and self-proclaimed "Book Evangelist." “Leading Self Publishing Efforts in Communities.” Lissa Staley. American Libraries, January/February 2015, pages 18-19. Read the article.

Pyko appointed Kansas ALA Councilor

Marie Pyko ALA councilor Marie Pyko, the library's public services director, was appointed to the position of Councilor of the American Library Association Kansas chapter.


Library named 2014 Star Library

We were recognized by Library Journal as a Star Library in 2014. Star libraries are identified based on the success of their output - circulation numbers, program attendance and community use of library 2014

Library named 2014 Top Innovator

The Urban Libraries Council (ULC) announced Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library as one of its 2014 Top Innovators during the Next Libraries Conference, June 22-24, in Chicago. A panel of expert judges selected TSCPL's Librarians Facilitating Community Change from more than 180 applications in the fifth annual ULC Innovations Initiative. ULC's Innovations Initiative highlights members' programs, services and operating practices that demonstrate their leadership by creating new approaches and practices to ensure the public library continuously meeting the ever-changing needs of the community. Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library won in the category of Civic and Community Engagement.

The library has served as a convener for community conversations and librarians have served as trusted facilitators. In 2013 the Librarians and management staff received Effective Facilitator/Masterful Meetings training sponsored by Heartland Visioning. The librarians now use these tools to increase productivity, improve communication and participation, and achieve superior outcomes in the library and in the community, whether that's leading a library team or facilitating a community discussion for Heartland Visioning, or the recent Community Conversation on Poverty. "21st century public libraries serve as conveners and facilitators in their communities and the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library has pursued those roles as a way to have a real and lasting impact on making our community a better place to live, work and learn, "explains CEO Gina Millsap. "When our librarians are at the table in any community conversation, they have the skills as facilitators and information professionals to ensure a good process and better outcomes."

Community Novel Project receives literary recognition

Spirits of Oz - Cover art by Michael John PerkinsIn 2014, the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library's Community Novel Project launched its third and fourth serialized novels, Superimposed, adult fiction, and Spirits of Oz, fiction for tween readers. More than 50 members of the Topeka community authored the books collaboratively.

Librarians and leaders of the project, Lissa Staley and Miranda Ericsson Kendall, accepted the Arty Literary Arts Award on behalf of the library. Topeka arts organization, ArtsConnect, presented the award Sat. Aug. 30, 2014. The Community Novel project won over two other nominees. “We’re demonstrating to the local writing community that the library is a convener, an encourager and supporter. We’re more than just a place to have your book shelved when it’s published. We’re giving them experience,” said Staley. See Miranda Ericsson Kendall and Lissa Staley present a webinar on the project on the Nebraska Library Commission website.


Art librarian made esteemed juror

Brea BlackArt librarian Brea Black juried the Guild of Book Workers Midwest Chapter’s travelling book arts exhibit “Plainly Spoken” in 2013. Black was one of three jurors. The other two jurors were from the University of Kansas (KU) and St. Louis. Books were submitted by artists from across the country. The exhibit opened at the Spencer Research Library at KU in Nov. 2013. After KU, the exhibit travelled to the University of Michigan, the Newberry Library in Chicago, the University of Iowa, and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts in Minneapolis. The exhibit is described as "including a range of binding ideas: models that replicate books from an historical period; cut-aways that visually reveal their hidden structure; design bindings that interpret a concept from the text; and artists’ bindings that play with structures and materials to create something new." 


Your library is a Four Star Library

The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library has been recognized as a high-performing library in a time of need. The library was given four out of five stars by Library Journal, by the oldest and most respected publication covering the library field. Libraries across the nation are playing a key role in their communities in this current economic crisis, and your library is no exception. Libraries were judged on number of visits, circulation, program attendance and public Internet computer use. Each day more than 3,000 visitors walk through the doors of the library. The library has experienced a 19.3 percent increase in the number of people coming into the library this year compared to last. In 2008, we checked out 2,453,453 items. In 2009, checkout was up 7 percent. The library provides free computer and Internet access and training. We offer about 500 computer-training classes each year. Our instructors say attendance at computer training programs has increased as the unemployment rate has increased. 258 libraries from across the United States earned a star ranking. To find out what other Kansas libraries were awarded stars, visit Library Journal's website.

Library earns Mora Award for multicultural celebration

The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library’s efforts to celebrate and raise awareness of the traditions of the Latino culture earned us $1,000 in grant money. The library was honored with a national 2009 Estela and Raúl Mora Award for our El Día de los Niños/El Día de los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) program. El Día is a multicultural celebration held annually. More than 550 individuals participated in our program in 2009, and about 90 percent of them were Hispanic or Latino. The event included a bilingual puppet show, bilingual reader's theater, traditional dancers, carnival games, bilingual storytelling and music by local elementary and high schoolers. All activities were presented in English and Spanish. In 2010, some of the grant money will be used to purchase more books, food and prizes for attendees of Dia, which will be April 29. And, some of the grant will be spent bolstering the library’s collection of bilingual books and other materials. The only other library to earn this distinction this year was the San Francisco Public Library.

Proud partner of Heartland Visioning

The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library has been recognized as a pioneering Funding Partner of Heartland Visioning, a community-wide initiative to develop and implement a shared strategic vision for community revitalization. Funding partners are organizations and individuals who have made it possible for the visioning project to start and continue for the first three years. Either cash or in-kind contributions from these partners made it possible to go forward with plans for the Greater Topeka Region. Gina Millsap, library executive director, provided expertise as an adviser and member of the Steering Committee. The library also served as a host site for Heartland Visioning meetings, providing meeting room space free of charge.

Executive Director leads National Association

gina millsapAn organization dedicated to developing the next generation of leaders in the library industry is being led by the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library’s executive director. Gina Millsap is the 2009-2010 president of the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA), one of the largest divisions of the American Library Association. One of her many goals for the association is to foster a wider diversity among its members, who average 54 years of age. She is also focused on encouraging excellence in libraries. “We must learn new ways to discover what our customers need and provide resources and services when and how they want them,” she said. Millsap was sworn in as president of the LLAMA in July 2009. Millsap came to Topeka in August 2005. As director, she works with the library’s governing board, the library staff, The Library Foundation, and the Friends of the Library to expand upon our tradition of excellence in collections, programs and services.

Kobs receives advertising award

Rich KobsThe library’s Art Director Rich Kobs took home a silver medal at the 2010 Topeka Chapter of the American Advertising Federation for the creation of a poster promoting Family Chess, an ongoing chess event at the library.

The library earned seven awards from the federation in 2009: three silvers, three golds and one best in show. The library’s stationary earned best in show. The library’s logo, which Kobs designed, earned a gold. Also of note, the library’s connectnow magazine earned a silver. The annual competition recognizes some of the biggest names in the local advertising and public relations fields. The library’s submissions compete against those from commercial advertising agencies. 


King Named "Mover and Shaker" in Library Leadership

david kingEach year the editors of Library Journal identify the emerging leaders from across the United States and Canada who are innovative, creative, and making a difference. David Lee King, Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library’s (TSCPL) Digital Branch manager, is one of 50 Movers & Shakers 2008 identified professionals who are moving libraries into the future. Library Journal has been covering the library field for 132 years, and is considered to be the “bible” of library directors, administrators, and staff in public, academic, and special libraries. King’s recognition is attributed to his ability to simplify complex technology. He is a popular library technology conference speaker, and is a writer for publications such as Computers in Libraries to Library Journals’ netConnect. His personal Web site also focuses on library sites and emerging digital technology as well as “other related-yet-cool (translation: fun) topics, like video-blogging, experience design and planning, and Web 2.0 / Library 2.0 topics.”

A Friend of Education

The Youth Services Department was awarded the 2008 Topeka Friends of Education Award by Topeka Public Schools USD 501 for providing excellent outreach services at Head Start programs, having bilingual storytimes each month, offering quality teacher resource materials and dedication to children. The library also won this award at the state level. The library earned the award in the private/public institution category, for its significant contribution to public education. Outreach services provided by the Youth Services Department to area preschool education facilities are outstanding. For example, Sheldon Head Start has a library but no librarian. Youth Services staff fill this gap by providing staff to go to the school every month. The Summer Reading program provides incentives for children to continue their education when school is not in session. The Homework Center is a place where adult mentors provide homework assistance and encourage children and young adults to value reading, studying and learning.

Library awarded Vivian Scales Education Award

In 2008, Library Board Trustee Elizabeth Ross nominated the library for the Vivian Scales Education Award, for which we won a plaque in Jan. 2009. The award was presented to the library by Living the Dream, Inc., for which Ross serves as a board member.

Staley named "Woman of Excellence"

Lissa StaleyLibrarian, Lissa Staley, was named a Woman of Excellence at the YWCA’s Leadership Luncheon in June 2008. Her dedication as a librarian, as well as her creativity in programming, is appreciated by library customers. The YWCA recognized her and 35 other women for their outstanding leadership, dedication, commitment and excellence at work and in the community. Lissa Staley has worked as a public services librarian at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library since 2001. When visiting the library, one will find her at the Reference Desk, leading book discussions, writing reviews, and helping her customers find the information they need. 


Millsap, a Library Journal “Mover and Shaker”

gina millsapThe Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library Executive Director Gina Millsap was named a 2007 “Mover and Shaker” by Library Journal magazine. Within days of becoming the library’s director in 2005, Millsap scheduled meetings with every manager and supervisor individually and with 220 other staff in focus groups. She asked them what needed to stay the same and what needed to change, what barriers prevented them from doing their best work, and what made them feel valued. Millsap moved just as quickly to put the library at the table in community decision-making and to show local leaders what the library can do for them. She established a beachhead with Topeka's Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, and the United Way. Kansas State Librarian Christie Brandau, says Millsap has shown her users an “exciting, technologically savvy, and user-centric library.” The new Digital Branch and Services Department serves distance users with blogs for adults and teens, wikis, podcasts, and a library social networking web page. Millsap gave her staff free reign to show customers their stuff. And the community did, indeed, say, “Wow!”

“Emerging Leader” on Staff

ThadThad Hartman, our collection development and technical services supervisor, was named a 2006-2007, “Emerging Leader” by the American Library Association. While in college he started at TSCPL as a shelving assistant. Since then has worked throughout the organization in many varying capacities, including circulation, reference, and interlibrary loan. One of Hartman’s major projects has been working with staff to create an organization and layout that will make sense to library customers, facilitate use, and create an exciting user experience. This plan resulted in the creation of several neighborhoods, which is a group of similar materials shelved together for ease of browsing. The American Library Association (ALA) Emerging Leaders (EL) program is a leadership development program which enables newer library workers from across the country to participate in problem-solving work groups, network with peers, gain an inside look into ALA structure, and have an opportunity to serve the profession in a leadership capacity. It puts participants on the fast track to ALA committee volunteerism as well as other professional library-related organizations.

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