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May 2017

My favorite time of year at the library has nothing to do with the time of year, our programming calendar or even specific services – I guess it has to do with all of that and more!   For the last 12 years, the La Crosse County Library Board has taken the time to honor the library patrons, volunteers, educators, partners and organizations that have truly made an impact on our daily working lives.  One of the year-end tasks for county library staff has come to be submitting nominations to recognize their favorites!   Fortunately for me – they never let us down with amazing nominations for spectacular people.  Although we’ve shifted the actual recognition event around each year, the Library Board never lets us forget the celebration!   Following the May 10th La Crosse County Library Board meeting last week the Board, under the leadership of President Barbara Manthei of West Salem took the time to honor our 2016 nominees.

The awards come with little fanfare but we are continually touched by how much this small recognition means to our recipients.  Our celebration of them comes with our deepest gratitude and the addition of a book for each recipient to our collection in their honor.  On top of that, our ever famous Library Dog shares in the event, joining us for the celebration and special photos to commemorate the event!

 I can’t help but take this opportunity to honor in one more fashion with our amazing recipients!   I’ll begin with our tireless volunteers who take care of so much behind the scenes so we can keep things going on the front lines.  The Campbell Fire Department have long supported our smallest library location and last year they enhanced that support by including in their annual calendar, distributed to every resident on French Island, our programming events.     Terry Pohja was honored in Holmen along with Jackie Bartz and Tamra Hull in Onalaska as well as Sally Snyder in West Salem for the hundreds of hours that they donate to us.  They all work almost weekly throughout the year on the tasks that we are not always able to give enough attention to.

 I don’t know that any other collaboration makes more sense than public libraries and schools, and without the support of our area schools much of our programming would be dismal.   Our partners in education are also never ending advocates for libraries and make it their missions to get a public library card in the hands of all their students and share with them how libraries can enhance their lives.  In our Private School category we were able to honor Gwen Manke of Bangor’s St. Paul’s Lutheran School and Tom Leis of Onalaska’s St. Patrick’s School.  Our public educator honorees included Susan Sanders, Elementary Reading Together Facilitator in the Holmen School District, Kari Schultz from West Salem Middle School and Nick Slusser, Special Educator at Holmen High School.

There are a number of groups and organizations who actually choose to honor us each year with their support and advocacy and we are grateful in turn to recognize as our Non-Profit Partner of the Year, the Coulee Region Humane Society and in particular, Erin Olson, who provides us added story time sessions twice a year at all 5 of our locations.

It is remarkable how some vendors go above and beyond their basic services to help us and Dana Erickson with Commercial AV of Onalaska is one of those special vendors. He continually services our Onalaska meeting room AV system and assures we have access to equipment and can enhance our programming with technology.

Much of our programming would not be possible without the sponsorship of partner organizations and businesses and we are delighted to be able to work closely with Denise Dowling and her staff at the Onalaska Toppers Pizza for their ongoing support of our Teen Programming.

Finally, but certainly by no means last, our Patron and Family of the Year recipients are always so much fun to honor.  Most don’t even realize what an impact they make with each of their visits and although these are 2016 recognitions their use and support of our libraries began long before now and we know will continue into the future!  We are delighted to recognize for 2016 Steve, Kathy and Heidi Anderson who use our Bangor location, Peg Felch in Campbell, The Kotnour Family of Holmen with Linn, Mark, Maria, Katharine and Nicholas, in Onalaska Katie and Michael Kabat and their children McKinley, Aurora, Juniper and Huxley and Krystal Gander of West Salem.

 The honor is truly ours each year to be able to let just a few people know how much they mean to us and what we do!

For more information about the La Crosse County Library or for the latest programming information, be sure to look around this website or Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lacrossecountylibrary

Chris McArdle Rojo, MLS
La Crosse County Library Director
103 State St.
Holmen, WI 54636

608-526-9600, opt. 1


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