"Libraries are dead! I can read books online and stream music and movies now, I don't need a library for that."
There are still folks out there who enjoy doing these things the old-fashioned way. There are others who aren't and may not want to be versed in that technology. To them, there's so much more to a library than meets the eye. Inside the doors of a library on any given day, you can also find people applying for jobs, filing their taxes, researching their ancestry and family history, taking a class to learn life skills or the latest computer technology, doing their schoolwork and so much more.
That's all being done with the vital help of a librarian and recently, according to a media release from the American Library Association (ALA), two Eastern Iowans were recognized as exceptional servants to their community with the "I Love My Librarian" Award.
The American Library Association named 10 finalists for the award
It recognizes exceptional librarians from academic, public, and school libraries that were "nominated by patrons nationwide for their expertise, dedication, and profound impact on the people in their communities."
Two Iowans were among the final 10
Honorees for this award included Renee Greenlee of the Marion Public Library. Marion's loss is Vinton's gain as a media release from the ALA states she has moved to a position there, but she was recognized for serving patrons in Marion.
Following a devastating derecho that affected the entire Marion area and forced the library to permanently close its doors, Greenlee provided vital services to the community, including assessing the structural safety of homes, staffing temporary technology locations across the city, and starting a digital archive to collect and preserve stories of how the community was affected.
The other Iowa winner is from Decorah Middle and High Schools in Decorah. Shannon Horton was selected for her work "transforming the libraries at Decorah Middle and High Schools into more welcoming environments that encourage reading and collaboration within the student population". Horton was instrumental in diversifying their collections with LGBTQ-themed books, books addressing racism and celebrating differences.
Read more about what put these two exceptional librarians and leaders in the company of eight of their other colleagues nationwide here.
Watch them being honored
At 3:30 p.m. Central time on Saturday, January 22, the ceremony will be streamed live here.