Two Alachua County Library District programs received Florida Library Association (FLA) awards at the annual FLA Conference in Orlando May 10-12. The Teen Creative Writing Contest received the Betty Davis Miller Youth Services - Teens Award and the Conversational English Program received the Maria Chavez-Hernandez “Libraries Change Peoples’ Lives” Award. These programs were selected from a large number of applicants for the quality of their service to their local communities.
Pictured above from the left: Waldo Branch Manager Kerry Dowd accepting award for Teen Creative Writing Contest, Library Director Shaney T. Livingston and Librarian Pat Carr accepting Conversational English Program Award.
The Teen Creative Writing Contest was recognized as an outstanding program that encourages writing among teens, strengthens library partnerships with local schools and teachers as well as authors and stimulates a positive relationship with teens and the library. The contest benefits teens by providing opportunities for self-expression and self-confidence building through writing.
“I loved getting to judge the teen contest,” said local poet and Teen Creative Writing Contest judge Lola Haskins. “I think events like this are among the most impacting things libraries can do. It's so important to show teens how much of themselves lies beyond Twitter and Snapchat and how beautiful that part is. And to reward them publicly for having the courage to stand forward.”
Pictured from the left: Judges Lola Haskins and author Lauren Groff with librarian Kerry Dowd
Tower Road Branch’s Conversational English Program was recognized for fostering life-long learning and providing life-changing opportunities for immigrant and under-served populations. Since 2011, the program has connected volunteer coaches with English language learners at the library to practice the art of conversation and engage in cultural exchanges. The program continues to grow and currently serves 163 people, 48 volunteers plus 115 students with 38 on a waiting list.
Recently, student Antonine Pollas made a special trip to Tower Road Branch to share her triumphant news and thank library staff and her coaches. After practicing and improving her English with her coach and pursuing a degree in nursing, she was promoted at her job and gained more responsibility along with better hours and more pay.
Pictured: Conversational English Program student Antonine Pollas at UWF graduation
FLA presented its 2017 awards to honor outstanding libraries, individuals, businesses and library supporters. 2017 FLA Award winners included:
Betty Davis Miller Youth Services (Children): Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library
Betty Davis Miller Youth Services (Teens): Alachua County Library District
Excellence in Marketing & Public Relations: Melrose Public Library
Exemplary Instructional Programs or Service: Mary Edwards, University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries
FLA Leader of the Year: Robin Shader, Northwest Regional Library System
Friends, Foundations and Board Outstanding Member: Polly Seymour, Winter Park Public Library
Librarian of the Year: Ava Ehde, Manatee County Public Library
Libraries Mean Business: St. Johns County Public Library System
Library Innovation: Palm Beach County Library System, Embedded Librarian Team
Library of the Year: Jacksonville Public Library
Library Research: Jacalyn E. Bryan, Saint Leo University
Library Web Presence: Florida State University Libraries
Lifetime Achievement: Susan Dillinger, New Port Richey Public Library
Maria Chavez-Hernandez “Libraries Change Peoples’ Lives”: Alachua County Library District
Outstanding Citizen: Jim Duffy, Friends of the Library of Tampa-Hillsborough, Inc.
Outstanding Media/Business Partner: St. Augustine Amphitheatre
Outstanding New Librarian: Margaret Ansell, University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries
Outstanding Paraprofessional: Stephanie Piccino, Martin County Library System – Peter & Julie Cummings Library Branch