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Central Rappahannock Regional Library wins Virginia Library Association Awards

From The Central Rappahannock Regional Library:

The Outstanding Professional Associate Award
The Awards & Recognition Committee of the Virginia Library Association (VLA) is pleased to announce that Joy O’Toole of Central Rappahannock Regional Library has been chosen for the 2019 Outstanding Professional Associates Award. This award recognizes a library associate who fosters communication among library employees throughout the Commonwealth and advances and strengthens the image of Professional Associates. Joy was selected for her embodiment of the ideals of customer service, her ability to make connections with patrons and coworkers alike, and her enthusiasm and leadership. The committee was particularly impressed by Joy’s initiatives to connect and support local authors through the Inklings program, special events, and CRRL’s Writers Conference.

Joy O’Toole is an Adult Services Programmer at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, where she creates classes and events to enrich, educate, and connect people in the Fredericksburg area. Joy believes that learning and community are keys to enriching people’s lives and this belief colors every aspect of her job from helping someone find the perfect book  to teaching people how to operate a sewing machine, connecting authors to the local writing community, and aiding family history researchers. One of Joy’s greatest passions is to encourage local authors to grow in their craft and plug into the community of fellow-writers. To that end, she has built up the writers’ groups in the library, created system-wide events for National Novel Writing Month participants, and organized a local full day writers’ conference for all writers in the community. When MakerLabs and DIY grew into a national pastime, Joy saw an opportunity to include vintage skills with the new technology. She spearheaded an effort to train people on how to use a sewing machine, invited local fabric artists to demonstrate their crafts, and began quarterly cooking demonstrations to help people learn how to make bread, pies, and jam. Joy has been a member of VLA since 2018. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Virginia and is a lifelong learner.


The Public Innovator Award
The Awards & Recognition Committee of the Virginia Library Association (VLA) is pleased to announce that Central Rappahannock Regional Library Youth Services, under the leadership of Youth Services Coordinator Darcie Caswell, and in coordination with Tina Bialecki, Paragon Autism Services’ Director of Community Outreach and Education, has been chosen for the 2019 Public Innovator Award. This award recognizes public librarians or public library project teams who have made an outstanding contribution to advance the mission of a public library in Virginia through an innovative project, program or service during the nomination period. This partnership was selected for their joint planning and launch of Creative Minds, a class specially created for children with autism and other special needs at an elementary developmental level. Central Rappahannock Regional Library’s goal for Creative Minds was to create a safe, welcoming, and supportive environment where children with autism and other special needs are given the tools and support they need to learn at their own pace and in their own way. Adult caregivers stay in the room with the children, and family members are welcome, ensuring Creative Minds is an opportunity for class participants to meet and socialize in an enjoyable learning experience.

Darcie Caswell has been committed to the education of young people for over twenty years, first as a teacher and now as a librarian. As Youth Services Coordinator for Central Rappahannock Regional Library, Darcie leads a Youth Services team of twenty six enthusiastic, creative staff dedicated to providing educational opportunities across CRRL’s service area. Tina Bialecki has had the privilege of working with children with special needs in many capacities and settings for close to thirty years and is proud to serve the special needs community in her role as Paragon Autism Services’ Director of Community Outreach and Education. Paragon Autism Services is a well-respected, award winning ABA company in the Central and Northern part of Virginia which prides itself on its mission to “give back to the community.”

The Trustee Award
The Awards & Recognition Committee of the Virginia Library Association (VLA) is pleased to announce that Dr. Samuel Smart of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library Board of Trustees has been chosen for the 2019 Trustee Award. This award recognizes distinguished service to libraries or a library in Virginia. The Trustee honored may have served on the local, state, regional, or national level, or at a combination of levels. Dr. Smart was selected because of his consistent and tireless advocacy and support for the CRRL libraries during his long tenure on the Board of Trustees.

Dr. Samuel Smart dedicated 16 years of service to the Central Rappahannock Regional Library (CRRL) Board of Trustees on two separate occasions. He first served 8 years during the late 1990’s and, most recently, from 2011-2019, holding the positions of both Chair and Vice Chair during each of his terms. Dr. Smart, a stalwart advocate for libraries, promoted the needs of CRRL both to the public and to local elected officials during his time on the Board tirelessly championing the library’s budget requests and advocating for staff raises, increases to the materials allocation, and the expansion of library services. A well-known optometrist for 47 years, Dr. Smart retired from practice in December 2018 and is enjoying retirement with his wife Laura.

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