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.

Charity Drives at your Local Library

Several libraries in the region are holding charity drives to help the local community during the holiday season:

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Athens Transit is "Stuffing a Bus"

Athens Transit is "Stuffing a Bus" for Christmas with unexpired canned foods and we can’t do it without your help! All canned foods will be donated to the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia. Our decorated bus will be parked at the following locations, so come out and donate to help give Athens area families a Holiday Season to remember! Don’t forget each time you drop off canned items the attendant will provide you with a ticket to enter and win one of our “Stuff-A-Bus” prizes. You don’t have to be present to win!!! Drawing takes place December 15 at 5:00 p.m. at Wal-Mart on Lexington Road.

  • Mon. Dec. 11th @ Wal-Mart (Lexington Rd) 10am to 6pm
  • Tues. Dec. 12th @Athens-Clarke County Library 10am to 6pm
  • Wed. Dec. 13th @ Athens-Clarke County Library 10am to 6pm
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  • Thurs. Dec. 14th @ Classic Center 10am to 6pm
  • Fri. Dec. 15th @ Wal-Mart (Lexington Rd) 10am to 6pm

Please call Athens Transit @ (706) 613-3434 if you have any questions.

Spreading Joy to Nursing Home Residents

Dec. 4 - Dec. 20, at the Athens-Clarke County Library

Stop by the Teen Services Department starting December 4 through December 20 and help fight that Bah Humbug spirit! Write a message of joy for one of our local residents in a nursing home.


Red Cross Blood Drive

Thursday, December 21, 2:00 - 6:00 p.m. at the Bogart Library

The American Red Cross Bus is going to be @ the Bogart Library on Thurs, December 21st from 2-6. Give the gift of life!

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Coat and Blanket Drive

At the Bogart Library

The Bogart Library will be collecting new and gently used blankets and coats (of all sizes) throughout November and December to donate to local charities including ACTS. Giving is a wonderful way for families to support our community this holiday season. Free and open to the public. For more information, please call 770-725-9443.


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Holiday Mail for Heroes

At the Bogart Library

Drop by our Family Creation Station through December 11 to make or sign a holiday card for wounded warriors, veterans and deployed service personnel and their families. Materials are provided! Staff will deliver the cards to the Red Cross for distribution. Free and open to the public. For more information, please call 770-725-9443.

Georgia Public Library of the Year - 2017

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