Moab Happenings Archive
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Grand County Library
Receives Major National Award

The Best Small Library in America
Library Journal
cover Feb 2007

The Grand County Public Library was awarded “The Best Small Library in America” designation for 2007 by Library Journal and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This highly competitive award is bestowed on an outstanding organization serving populations under 25,000 people. More than 50 libraries applied for the prize this year, and runners-up included public libraries from Hanover, New Hampshire, Oneida, New York, and Austin, Texas. The library is featured on the February 1 cover of Library Journal. A cash prize of $15,000 accompanies the honor, as well as a trip to Minneapolis next year for a gala reception to receive the award.

After being notified of the award, Library Director Eve Tallman was asked by the Utah State Librarian, Donna Morris, to present testimony for the Utah Joint Appropriations Subcommittee at the capitol. Says Tallman, “It was an honor to present testimony on behalf of the state library. I spoke about how important the support of the state library is to our essential services, including the Library Enhancement Program which provides a grant directly to our library ($6,834 in 2006). Committee co-chair Senator Hickman (R-Washington County) asked many questions about our library and all were impressed that, even with 50 computers, our library is so busy patrons sometimes have to wait for turns, especially in the after-school hours when the library attracts dozens of school kids. I spoke about classes the library offers on how to use email and how to write grants. Judging by the interest of the Sub-committee members, I think my short presentation spoke well of the state library and their wonderful services such as the PIONEER magazine & newspaper databases and the Interlibrary Loan service.”

The Utah Masonry Council also cited the library with a 2006 Merit Award for the use of sandstone tiles on the exterior of the building and in the lobby.

The library is very fortunate to have the help of many skilled and wonderful volunteers who help with shelving, repairing books, ensuring the collections are in the right order on shelves, and assisting with children’s programs. The busiest and most committed volunteers at the library are the members of the Library Board of Directors.

Russ von Koch, the Chair of the Library Board through several momentous seasons, has recently turned over the gavel to incoming board chair Al McLeod.

Under the chairmanship of von Koch, the library completed the library building project, including acquisition of property for the new library site, preparation of a loan application to the Utah Community Permanent Impact Board, and cooperation with the architects on the design of the building. He attended regular meetings with the contractor during the construction phase, and has been an advocate for library funding and responsible fiscal management of library operations. He will continue as a regular member of the library board. The slate of board members for 2007 is as follows: Al McLeod, Chair; Katie Stephens, Vice-chair; Kathy Wilson, Russ von Koch, Elizabeth Clark, Belinda Ledbetter, and Audrey Graham, Council Representative. Longtime board members Lisa Roman and Eleanor Bliss recently retired from the board.
Part of the attraction to the “Best Small Library in America” jury for the award, is our library’s focus on children. Services to children have become a shining star of the new library facility. Summer reading programs, after school activities, toddler story time and Saturday story times keep the staff very busy.

Charlotte Hurley and Tracy Renn are expanding their skills with storytelling and puppetry projects. The Young Adult area sees a lot of action daily after school, as teens show up to use the computers and “hang out.” The Delicate Stitchers Quilting Guild as created a beautiful “story time tree” in the library meeting room that is decorated seasonally with quilted leaves for summer & fall, snowflakes for winter, and this month the snowflakes are augmented with valentine hearts. Stop by and see what all the fuss is about!

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