Athens Regional Library System named Georgia Public Library of the Year

The Athens Regional Library System logo with Georgia Public Library of the Year, 2017.

The Georgia Public Library Service (GPLS) has named Athens Regional Library System as Georgia’s Public Library of the Year for 2017. The award is one of five annual Georgia Public Library Awards, honoring the outstanding service and achievements of Georgia’s public libraries, librarians and advocates during the past year.

“It is once again our pleasure to recognize library colleagues and supporters who have made Georgia’s public libraries exceptional. This year’s winners of the Georgia Public Library Awards demonstrate the very best in innovation, community engagement, and tireless dedication to serving the citizens of our state, playing a vital role in creating a more educated, enlightened Georgia,” said State Librarian Julie Walker.

“I am especially pleased to congratulate the Athens Regional Library System on being selected as Georgia’s Library of the Year. The leadership team, staff and trustees of ARLS do a terrific job of working together to offer creative programming, thoughtful customer service, and strong community partnerships that benefit library users of all ages throughout the five counties they serve. This is a richly-deserved honor.”

The Public Library of the Year award, presented to the library whose staff best exemplifies the qualities needed to positively impact the lives of residents in the communities it serves, will be presented to the Athens Regional Library System and its employees at a 3 p.m. ceremony at Athens-Clarke County Library Sunday, Jan. 21.

“I am beyond proud of our library staff. It is such an amazing honor to be recognized for the hard work we do every day in each of our branches,” said Athens Regional Library System Executive Director Valerie Bell. “Every single one of our employees has played an instrumental role in winning this award. This is a beautiful tribute to staff’s commitment to our vision statement, ‘Engaging Communities … Exceeding Expectations.’ I’d also like to say a special thank you to the many community partners and patrons who wrote letters of support for our nomination.”

The Athens Regional Library System is the first multi-library system to be recognized as Georgia’s Public Library of the Year. The system serves residents in five Northeast Georgia counties – Athens-Clarke, Franklin, Madison, Oconee and Oglethorpe – at 11 branches with a combination of innovative technology and friendly customer service.

Additional awards are being presented to Carolyn Fuller of Henry County as Librarian of the Year, Rep. Terry England and Sen. Jack Hill as Champions of the Year, and Stephen Whigham of Eastman, Ga., who is receiving the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award.

In addition to the individual presentation events, this year’s winners will be recognized at a public ceremony during the Georgia Council for Public Libraries’ annual Public Library Day at the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 30.

Georgia Public Library of the Year - 2017

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