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.
Library wins Library of the Year award
Each 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.
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.
DaVee, 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.
In 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
This 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.
Meredith Snepp Appointed to Kansas Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Committee
Business 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.
Debbie Stanton Named to Leadership Topeka Class of 2020
Public 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.
Donna Rae Pearson Recognized for Work in Tennessee Town
In 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
Genealogy 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
In 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.