On March 1, 2023, Berks County Public Libraries held their 20th annual awards ceremony, honoring those in the community who demonstrate outstanding leadership, innovation, and dedication to library service in our communities.
This year marked the first in-person awards event since the start of the pandemic as library friends, staff, and supporters attended the celebratory evening. Members of the Berks County Public Libraries Advisory Board presented the awards, highlighting the accomplishments demonstrated by category winners. The awards program lists those considered for each category.
Trustee of the Year
This award is presented to a public library trustee (or entire board of trustees) in recognition of outstanding leadership of a System library.
Winner: Bernville Area Community Library Board of Trustees
Outstanding Local Business
This award is presented to a local business or local office of a regional, state or national corporation in recognition of its support of public library services.
Winner: Firefly Bookstore
Outstanding Library Director
This award is presented to a member library director who fosters cooperation and collaboration among member libraries, shares time and talent with other libraries on countywide initiatives, and has an effective and resourceful impact on the community.
Winner: Debe Donley, Bernville Area Community Library
Outstanding Library Staff Member
This award is presented to a staff member at a member library who demonstrates exemplary library service and has an effective and resourceful impact on the community.
Winner: Linda Capozello, Reading Public Library
Outstanding Fundraising Effort
This award is presented to a library in recognition of a one-time or on-going fundraising project that is especially creative or unique. The amount of funds raised is not the determining factor in selecting the recipient of this award.
Winner: Rock the Library, Village Library of Morgantown
This award recognizes a member library for the presentation of an adult, young adult, youth or mixed age/family program of exceptional interest or creativity.
Winner: Beyond Kutztown, Kutztown Community Library
Outstanding Library Volunteer
This award recognizes a distinguished volunteer who has made noteworthy contributions to the library that is above and beyond what is reasonably expected.
Winner: Weston Niemczyk, Muhlenberg Community Library
Dreisbach Award for Exemplary Service
This is the System's highest award, named in honor of Dr. Dodson E. Dreisbach, founding member of the Friends of Berks County Public Libraries and first president of the System Advisory Board. This award may be presented in any year to one person or group in recognition of exceptional, long-term service which benefitted libraries countywide.
Winner: Mike Najarian, Reading Public Library & District Library Center
Linda Baer Friend of the Year
This award is presented in honor of Linda Baer, past President of the Friends of Berks County Public Libraries and recognizes the significant and substantial commitment of time, energy and creativity of a single member of a local library Friends organization. The award includes a $100 cash prize sponsored by the Friends of the Berks County Public Libraries.
Winner: Annette Heffelfinger, Kutztown Community Library
Chet Hagan Memorial Public Relations Award
This award is presented jointly with the Friends of Berks County Public Libraries. The recipient is selected based on the library’s public relations activities carried out during the year. The award includes a $500 cash prize sponsored by the County Commissioners’ appropriation and the Friends of the Berks County Public Libraries.
In 1991, the annual System/District Trustee Workshop program focused on the role of effective public relations in securing adequate funding for libraries. Chet Hagan, as a member of the System Board, was the prime mover in developing and arranging this well-received workshop program. Chet was then the editor of Bookends, the excellent publication of the Friends of the Reading-Berks Public Libraries. And so the Public Relations Award began with its first presentation of the hen-shaped trophy, appropriately name the "Henny," to Chet Hagan on September 14, 1991.
But why a hen? Learn about the origin of the Henny.
Winner: Reading Public Library