Kansas Library Association Recognizes Five Individuals with KLA Presidential Awards

By , 10/17/2016

Topeka, KS —

The Kansas Library Association will recognize five individuals with the KLA Presidential Awards during the annual Kansas Library Conference to be held in Wichita October 19th through the 21st. The annual conference is a joint conference of the Kansas Library Association and the Kansas Association of School Librarians. The KLA President, Gloria Creed-Dikeogu will present the awards to the recipients at an Awards Reception on Thursday, Oct. 20th. KLA recognizes individuals in four different categories: Meritorious Service, Library Personnel, New Professional, and Library Advocate.

Meritorious Service Award

The Presidential Award for Meritorious Service is given to an individual in recognition of exemplary and sustained service to the benefit of Kansas libraries and library users and/or the Kansas Library Association. This year’s recipient is Chris Rippel, Continuing Education Department Head for the Central Kansas Library System. Chris is described as a creative thinker, technology innovator, mentor, and leader in the profession. His “Mousercize” program, designed to help develop technological skills in library staff, has been adopted by libraries nationwide. During his 27 year career, “Chris has poured his energy into improving library service throughout the state of Kansas,” providing a vision for quality service in rural libraries. All of this has been done with a wealth of knowledge, patience, and a sense of humor.

Library Personnel Award

The Library Personnel Award is presented to an individual who has made notable contributions to the library profession, furthered the significant development of libraries in Kansas, or performed exemplary service for an extended period of time. This year, KLA would like to recognize the work of Polli Kenn, Readers’ Service Coordinator at the Lawrence Public Library (LPL). The position of Readers’ Service Coordinator was created when Polli was hired and through her research on best practices and innovative service models in Readers’ Advisory and by implementing some of these practices and innovations, Polli has truly defined this new position. Described as a “powerhouse of a librarian”, Polli is recognized as a leader in Readers’ Services nationwide. Her creation of the LPL Book Squad and a readers’ advisory unconference not only help her local community but has an impact that goes well beyond the city boundaries.

New Professional Award

KLA recognizes new professionals that have made a positive impact on the quality of library service and/or the role of library personnel in Kansas through the New Professional Presidential Award. This year’s recipient of the New Professional Award is Sara Dixon, Reference Librarian at Wichita Public Library. Sara earned her MLIS in 2011 from Florida State University. With a personal mission to make a difference in the community through information and education, Sara has spearheaded several innovative programs for the Wichita Public Library including a partnership with KMUW public radio entitled EngageICT and outreach through the Pop-Up Librarian Project. Through her passion for libraries, Sara is working to ensure that the public library remains essential and relevant to the citizens of Wichita.

Library Advocates

Finally, KLA would like to recognize two individuals as advocates of Kansas Libraries: State Representative Tom Sawyer of Wichita (95th District) and State Representative Don Hineman from Dighton (118th District). The Library Advocate Award is presented in recognition of exemplary leadership or support for growth and development of the Kansas Library Association and/or a library or libraries in Kansas. During the 2016 Session of the Kansas Legislature, libraries in Kansas were faced with House Bill 2719, which “would have significantly defunded regional library systems and public libraries.” Due to the leadership and actions of all of the members of the House Taxation Committee, and especially those of Representatives Tom Sawyer and Don Hineman, the bill was changed by removing libraries from it. Their advocacy on behalf of Kansas libraries and library systems helped to preserve library service for communities throughout the state.

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