Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Outstanding Library Service Award & Acceptance Speech.

I'm on my way to Ohio today, instead of in Tucson at AZLA where this award is to be presented. Since I won't be there, and a representative of the Library System is accepting the award on my behalf, I'm sharing the news release, although I shared the news two months ago. And, then, you can read the acceptance speech that someone else is reading in my place.

Glendale Library Manager Lesa Holstine
 Wins Outstanding Library Service Award

Glendale, Ariz. – The Arizona Library Association (AzLA) will honor a select group of people at its 2011 conference in November. This year’s Outstanding Library Service Award recipient is Lesa Holstine, library manager for the Velma Teague Branch of the Glendale Public Library.
Presented to an individual whose activities go beyond the standard requirements of good library service, the award recognizes activities that impact the local community and serve as a model for other libraries.
In her seven years as the Velma Teague Library manager, Holstine’s highly esteemed book critiques and renowned authors’ visits have transformed the small downtown Glendale library into a literary powerhouse. Holstine has attracted the attention of national publishers, best-selling authors and library patrons who line up for a steady stream of discussions, author appearances, book signings and lectures.
Holstine reads an average of twenty books a month for reviews, with a heavy emphasis on mysteries and thrillers - - a passion she says began in her childhood with the Nancy Drew series and other children’s mysteries.
Many of the books she reads are sent to her by publishers hoping for a review. After the books are read and reviewed, she donates them to the library to help offset budget cuts in the library’s collection development fund. As a result, the Velma Teague Library is now home to one of the finest collections of mysteries and thrillers in the area.
Winner of the “Spinetingler Award for Best Reviewer” in both 2009 and 2010, her widely acclaimed reviews can be found in a number of publications including Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, The Strand Magazine and Women’s World.
Holstine started her popular blog, “Lesa’s Book Critiques,” in 2005. Her book reviews have been picked up by, Reuters, and other distributors.
Authors praise Holstine for giving honest reviews of their books, even if it means going against the grain. Many of her reviewed authors are hosted at the library for book signings through the popular “Authors @ the Teague” series, which regularly attracts nationally best-selling authors such as William Dugoni, New York Times bestseller and William Dietrich, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.
Holstine’s career as a library manager/administrator has spanned over 30 years from Ohio to Florida and now to Arizona. 
Holstine’s nominator for the AzLA award, colleague Anna Caggiano says, “Lesa exemplifies outstanding library service. She goes above and beyond for her library, the authors and her community.”

Here's my acceptance speech.

I’m sorry I’m not with you today to accept the Arizona Library Association’s Public Service Award. However, you should probably be grateful that you don’t have to watch me stand up here and cry.

Instead of being here with you, I’ve gone back to my roots. I’m home visiting my family in Ohio. And, since this award is really about roots and community, I wanted to just mention them.

I’m from a small town in northcentral Ohio, right on the lake. I started working in the Huron Public Library as a page when I was sixteen, and I never left the library. My roots are there. My mother worked in a high school library, and, my sisters both worked as pages after I did.  A year after grad school, I went home to Huron as Library Director, and stayed there for five years before moving to Florida.

It was the women I worked with at the Huron Public Library, though, who taught me about libraries and service to the community. I’ve never forgotten that. They shared their passion for readers, authors, and books. As Director of the Huron Public Library, I brought my first author to the community, a local author who talked about books, writing, family, and home.

Huron gave me my start in libraries. I worked in Florida for eighteen years, and, then I came to Arizona seven years ago. The library directors in Glendale, Rodeane Widom, Sue Komernicky, and Cheryl Kennedy, allowed me to share my passion for books and authors with the people of Glendale, and the wider community of readers. It all started when Rodeane sent me to a workshop sponsored by the state library. Honestly? I didn’t get much out of the three day workshop, but I learned to blog. That blog put me in contact with readers, authors, and publishers, and I’ve tapped into that relationship. The brown bag luncheons in which I share books with library patrons and library staff, and the Authors @ The Teague programs, which bring authors to Glendale., are a result of my blog, and that one workshop. The programs happen because the library staff in Glendale, at the Velma Teague Branch where I work, and at the Main and Foothills Libraries, try to bring outstanding programs to the public. And many of those authors programs came about because Barbara Peters, owner of the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, partnered with me to bring authors to Glendale. Barbara Peters understands public service and the commitment to enhance the quality of life in a community. She’s a former librarian.

When I was sixteen, I found my life’s passion, working in the public library. It’s been a joy to share my love of books and reading with the people in the communities where I’ve lived and worked, as well as the community of far-flung readers on the Internet.

To me, the public service award recognizes the people who have given me a gift, a love of books, libraries, and people, and the opportunity to bring them together. Thank you for honoring all those people who gave me roots, and all those people in the communities I’ve served, by presenting me with this award.


bermudaonion said...

I can't think of anyone more deserving - congratulations once again!

Kay said...

Once again, Lesa, congratulations on this award. So well deserved!! Hope you have a great time at home and with your family. What would all of our lives have been like if you hadn't attended that workshop? Well, they would have been less bright because you are a shining star. Hugs to you!!

scottsgal said...

What a wonderful honor - congratulations to you!

Clea Simon said...

Wonderful statement, Lesa! It is true that giving someone a book is a public service - and that simply underlines how well deserved this honor is. Congratulations! Enjoy your time away, and thank you again for all you do.

Sue Komernicky said...

Lesa, congratulations on your award! I know that Glendale is a better community with all the work you have done! Have a wonderful time visiting with family!

Karen B said...

Congratulations to my favorite blog librarian!

MB RapaciousReader said...

Congratulations, Lesa! I'm a public librarian & occasional blogger, and you are an inspiration.

Lesa said...

Thank you, so much, everyone, for the congratulations, and the good wishes. And, Sue? Thank you for all your years with Glendale, and for allowing Authors @ The Teague to flourish.

Lesa said...

And, MB RapaciousReader. Thank you so much. It means so much to hear from a fellow librarian. Thank you.

Karen C said...

Congratulations on receiving this well deserved award, Lesa. Lovely acceptance speech. Enjoy the time home with family.

libraryann said...

rock. star.

love you!

Sandie Herron said...

Congratulations once again on earning the award presented to you today. I know you never worked toward winning; you just do what you do - share your knowledge and passion about books and reading with others. I understand that passion and liken it to handselling done by a bookseller, putting the right book into a reader's hands at the right moment. I understand that because it was a passion of mine when we met in Florida all those years ago. I'm sure that was our common bond at the time and what grew into a friendship with each other and the opportunity to grow.

I'm so proud of you for all the years you have shared yourself via the books you recommended and the books you introduced to the libraries you served. How much richer they are because of your being amongst them. How much richer I am for knowing you.

Thank you for all you have done and continue to do via the library, your blog, each conversation you hold with another reader. Thank you for sharing your passion with others, that we might be richer for it.

Ingrid King said...

Congratulations, Lesa!