2019-2020 Award Winners and Honorees


NEO-RLS thanks all of our 2019-2020 Honorees for their contributions to the libraries of Northeast Ohio and congratulates the 2020 winners of the Rising Star Award, Shooting Star Award and Advocacy Award.


The NEO-RLS Rising Star Award

The Rising Star Award is awarded to a library employee who has no more than five years' experience in libraries and has already had an impact on Northeast Ohio Libraries. 
Individuals are nominated and the selection of the top 3 nominees and the Rising Star Award recipient is made by Wendy Knapp, State Librarian, State Library of Ohio. 

The top three nominees this year were
Roxana RathbunLibrarian, Seville Library, Medina County District Library, Aaron Spears, Young Adult Librarian, Westlake Porter Public Library, and  Carolanne Tkach, Tech Trainer, Cuyahoga Falls Library. 




We are pleased to recognize the winner of the 2020 NEO-RLS Rising Star Award, Roxana Rathbun, Librarian, Seville Library, Medina County District Library.

Having risen up through the ranks, Roxana Rathbun grew from her position
as a page at the Medina County District Library System into the Librarian at the Seville Library location when she completed her MLIS degree from Kent State University in 2019. She uses her talent as a writer to improve staff relations through the development of a newsletter for pages. She builds relationships with the community and local school district as well as amongst the
library staff, exhibiting the role of a community anchor institution in Medina County.
 



The NEO-RLS Shooting Star Award

The Shooting Star Award is awarded to a library employee who has more than 10 years of experience in libraries and has made a sustainable impact in their library and/or community over the years.  Individuals are nominated and the selection of the top 3 nominees and the Rising Star Award recipient is made by Wendy Knapp, State Librarian, State Library of Ohio. 

The top three nominees this year were Sherie Brown, Director, Massillon Public Library, Gail Ebey, Children's Department Supervisor, and Mary Anne Russo, Youth Services Librarian Supervisor, Hubbard Public Library.
 



We are pleased to recognize the winner of the 2020 NEO-RLS Shooting Star Award, Mary Anne Russo, Youth Services Librarian Supervisor, Hubbard Public Library.

A supporter of youth services for more than three decades, Mrs. Russo led the Hubbard Pubic Library’s efforts to create and sustain a dedicated space for children’s programming, activities and services.  Providing the space, materials and services that can be a part of the lives of children in any age group nurtures the love of reading and learning for a lifetime.  Her leadership in the Children’s department has built lasting relationships between the library and patrons that have continued for generations.




The NEO-RLS Advocacy Award

The Advocacy Award is given to those who have supported the libraries of our region through their advocacy efforts.  Nominees may be library staff, Board members, Friends of Library members, patrons, local, county or state officials, and legislators.  The Advocacy Award may be given to an individual or to a group.  Multiple Advocacy Awards may be presented in any given year.   Individuals are nominated and the selection of the Advocacy Award recipient(s) is made by the NEO-RLS Awards Committee.

 

We are pleased to recognize the winner of the 2020 NEO-RLS Advocacy Award, Cynthia HirtzelFriend and Patron, Hubbard Public Library.

Cynthia is a gifted grant writer, securing thousands of dollars in funding toward literacy and educational resources for the library collection and has set an example by generously donating toward library initiatives herself.  She tirelessly networks, writes letters, and speaks to community members, legislators, and leaders, promoting the mission and value of the library.  Cynthia’s enthusiasm and passion are infectious; she has an inherent ability to motivate and inspire, leaving a lasting impact on Hubbard Public Library, patrons, staff, and the community as a whole.