2013 Award Winners

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Library of the Year: Verona Public Library

According to their nomination citing 2011 DPI annual report data, when compared to other libraries with similar service populations, the Verona Public Library ranks first in circulation, program attendance, users of public Internet computers, number of ALA-accredited master degreed librarians, and total materials and operating expenditures.  Additionally, a remarkable 85% of Verona’s 11,000 residents have library cards.  Holly Steger, a Verona Public Library patron nominated poetically, “The Verona Public Library is certainly a treasure: a proud ship of a building standing amid a sea of prairie grass and wildflowers.  When you step aboard, the first view of the horizon through the floor to sky windows is literally breathtaking.  Our library is not a static structure: it is a vibrant, pulsing vessel that carries Verona through the waters providing our community a bulwark of education.”  It is the Award Committee’s extreme pleasure to christen this proud ship, “Library of the Year!”


Librarian of the Year: Michael Gelhausen

The word “passionate” was used repeatedly to nominate Michael Gelhausen for Librarian of the Year. He is passionate about the Jack Russell Memorial Library where he has worked for almost 30 years, the two building projects he has led, three automation installations, the development and formation of both a county library service and a Friends of the Library, and the many offices held in the Wisconsin Library Association. Several nominations mentioned a truly remarkable recent accomplishment: helping to raise over $2 million dollars in twelve months during one of the worst economies in recent years. Writes Gary Koppelberger, Hartford City Administrator, “… Mike led a community-wide fundraising effort to construct a new, stand-alone library for the Hartford area – in the midst of the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression. Nevertheless, the Hartford community responded. Under Mike’s leadership and boundless faith the impossible happened.” Now it is time for the library community to acknowledge Mr. Gelhausen’s remarkable career, dedication, accomplishments and passion, by naming him the 2013 Wisconsin Library Association Librarian of the Year.


Trustee of the Year: Helen Campbell

Helen Campbell has served as a dedicated and tireless trustee for the Prairie du Sac Library Board for over a quarter of a century and has been the President for the past 20 years. She has lead the board through dramatic increases in circulation, open hours and staffing; joining a shared automation consortium; and opening not one, but two, new libraries. Jennifer Endres Way, Director of the Ruth Culver Community Library nominated Ms. Campbell, “Helen’s passion and dedication to providing excellent library service has only grown stronger over these years. Her energy continues to be endless when it comes to supporting the library.”


Citation of Merit: Noon Kiwanis Club of Ripon

The Ripon Noon Kiwanis Club saw a need, and then developed and implemented a popular toy lending library at the Ripon Public Library to meet that need. Inspired by then Kiwanis President Dr. Richard Zimman’s daughter’s fond memories of a toy library growing up, Dr. Zimman convinced the Noon Kiwanis Club to take on the development of a toy library as the group’s signature project. In addition to fundraising for initial toy purchases, the Club also paid for remodeling the space to house the toys, storage and all cleaning supplies. Club members also volunteer time to clean the toys. Ripon Public Library Children’s Librarian Linda M. DeCramer enthused about the project, “In this age of technology, libraries are necessarily diversifying. It is interesting to note that the development of the toy lending library supports that trend, while simultaneously creating a foundation for traditional child development opportunities. It is hard to imagine another project which could bridge such a gap.”