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 USAtoday.com, 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.
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.