County library honors teen specialist PDF Print E-mail
Written by KAREN NADLER COTA, Sentinel Lifestyles Editor   
Friday, 04 October 2013 09:34
Katherine Lawn. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Katherine Lawn, a teen specialist at the Wood County District Public Library, has been named winner of this year's John Gibson M. Award.
Since 2005, the award has been presented annually by library trustees to recognize excellence in customer service shown by a staff member at the main library or the Walbridge branch library during the preceding 12 months. It is named after the late John Gibson in honor of his contributions to the library and his integral role in the library's renovation.
The surprise announcement was made Friday during a staff luncheon with library Director Michael Penrod and several of the trustees.
The award selection committee received a total of 28 nominations for the 2013 award, according to committee chairperson and trustee Nancy Buchanan, with 12 different employees nominated. Nominations came from both within and outside the library.
Lawn alone received four nominations.
"She is always giving advice when we need it, whether it is about school, books, friends, or anything else I need," noted a teen library patron.
A fellow staff member described Lawn as "devoted to her work. Katherine aims to please and exceed expectations. She is a good listener. Katherine treats everyone with the utmost respect and consideration. It is very important to her that other's needs are met."
The nominator described Lawn as both extremely organized and "very clever and creative. Katherine manages her time extremely well and completes her tasks and duties, then actually rewards herself seeking opportunities to be creative and to make the Children's Place even more special with displays and promotional work. As a result, she is extremely dependable and productive.
"Katherine enjoys working with youth of all ages from teens to toddlers" and is also involved with a monthly book group at the Bowling Green Middle School. "She also did a remarkable job this summer with a weekly STEM program. Her programs were meaningful and fun. They were also inspirational," the co-worker praised. "Katherine is a tremendous asset to the library."
Lawn, a Bowling Green resident, was hired as a part-time youth services assistant in 2008 and promoted to full-time in 2012.
"Kat has partnered with me in leading the middle-school-aged book club, Snack n Yak (now Pizza & Pages) for the last four years," nominee Patti Rish wrote. "Kat always brings in relevant materials - picture books, nonfiction books, artifacts, and even book-related snacks - to entice the students. She asks thought-provoking questions to help take our book discussions to a new level. The middle school students appreciate her, as she relates well to them and never talks down to them."
A long-time library user, in his nomination, praised the entire WCDPL staff, then went on to draw attention to "a couple of things Katherine did this past year that made a big impression on our family. In April our daughter experienced a serious concussion. It brought a pretty quick end to the school year for her, as well as a lot of restrictions on activity, including not being allowed to read. Audio books were still a 'go' though. So my wife came into the library and told Katherine what she was after. Our daughter had been a teen volunteer in the Children's Place, so she was someone Katherine already knew.
"Katherine flew through the stacks, swooping up selections like an ambidextrous, Dewey Decimal ninja. Apparently it all happened with the speed and precision of a smash-n-grab jewel heist, because the next thing my wife knew she had an armload of age appropriate audio books featuring strong female lead characters. And for parents who were dealing with a child with a head injury, that sort of immediate and thoughtful help was priceless.
"And then later this summer I was in the library and Katherine stopped me to ask about how our daughter was doing. What struck me was that she had a couple of suggestions for resources for our daughter, and how she clearly had been putting thought and care into what might be helpful for a kid who was dealing with a new set of frustrations and limitations. And that genuine expression of concern for a patron was definitely above and beyond what I expected from that day's trip from the library."
The eight previous recipients of the Gibson Award are employees Mandy Hackley (2005), Mary Boone (2006), AJ Heilman and Donna Mertz (2007), Debra Born (2008), Kristin Wetzel (2009), Linda Conrad (2010), Maria Simon (2011), and Nancy Weiland (2012).
Last Updated on Friday, 04 October 2013 10:10

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