Star Award Nominations and Winners


2023-24 Award Nominations

The Star Awards recognize exceptional contributions made by library employees in Northeast Ohio, enriching both the libraries and the communities they serve.

Award categories include: 

Rising Star - Less than 5 years of service. 
Shooting Star - 5 - 20 Years of service.
Super Star - More than 20 years of service.

Please fill out the Nomination Form and submit it no later than June 30, 2024.  Winners will be selected by a panel comprised of representatives from the NEO-RLS membership, board, and the State Library of Ohio. Join us at the 2024 annual NEO-RLS Membership and Appreciation Meeting for the presentation of awards.
2022-23 Award Winners
NEO-RLS thanks all of our 2022-2023 Honorees for their contributions to the libraries of Northeast Ohio and congratulates the 2023 winners of the Rising Star Award, Shooting Star Award and Advocacy Award.

The NEO-RLS Rising Star Award

We are pleased to recognize the winner of the
2023 NEO-RLS Rising Star Award, AJ Petro,
Adult Services Coordinator, Kingsville Public Library

AJ Petro began her library career in 2019 with the Kingsville Public Library as the Adult Services Coordinator. She is extremely talented at bringing together local businesses, volunteers and patrons to create programs that foster a love of learning and have a positive impact on mental health and the overall wellness of the community, especially underserved populations. Her greatest accomplishments include creating the Reach Out and Read (ROAR) program and providing vocational resources to our special needs community in partnership with Ashtabula County Residential Services (The Maples), Maples Mercantile store and Active Day vocation and habilitation facility. Her innovative use of QR code technology in large outdoor events was deemed so unique and versatile that she presented at the Ohio Library Council Innovations Conference in 2021.

Congratulations AJ Petro, 2023 recipient of the Rising Star Award!


The NEO-RLS Shooting Star Award
We are pleased to recognize the winner of the
2023 NEO-RLS Shooting Star Award, Amber Salmon,
Adult Services Librarian - Business, Government, & Science Division - Akron-Summit County Public Library
Amber Salmon has held various positions since joining Akron-Summit County Public Library in 2004. Her knowledge of librarian work is shown through her successful, creative library programs and services, such as 20 & 30 Somethings Meet & Greet; Think & Drink Book Club; Akron Eats; an Alternative Health series with yoga and tai chi; and a culinary Library of Things collection. Amber has also shown local leadership: provided mentorship within the Ohio library community through webinars and in-person training on nonfiction readers advisory and kindness in the workplace and served on Ohio Library Council's 2022 Adult Services and Reference Virtual Conference Planning Committee; and benefiting her community by serving on Akron-Summit County Public Library's Customer Service Committee, Akron’s Eviction Task force, Summit Food Coalition, and a public service partnership with the College & Career Academies of the Akron Public Schools.

Congratulations Amber Salmon, 2023 recipient of the Shooting Star Award!

The NEO-RLS Advocacy Award

We are pleased to recognize the winner of the
2023 NEO-RLS Advocacy Award, Kathleen Kling
President, Stark Main Friends of the Library


Kathleen Kling is the perfect example of a library advocate. She strongly believes in what libraries can do for the families and individuals within our community. She adds to the value of the Library by communicating and educating others about literacy. Kathleen is a respected community member and brings her connections to Stark Library. She encourages others to explore and engage in what the Library offers. You could not ask for a better, kinder soul when looking to award advocacy efforts. Look no further than Mrs. Kathleen Kling!

Congratulations Kathleen Kling, 2023 recipient of the Advocacy Award!

We are pleased to recognize the winner of the
2023 NEO-RLS Advocacy Award, Friends of East Cleveland Public Library


The Friends received funding from Cuyahoga County Council to sponsor COVID-19 vaccines for residents in the City of East Cleveland Ohio for years 2020 and 2021. The Friends serve as fiscal agent for East Cleveland Art and Mentorship Program, (ECAMP an arts program for youth). The Friends co-sponsors the annual Back-to-School Book Bag give away with First Baptist Church.The Friends host special library services events monthly such as Sunday afternoon concerts in the Greg L. Reese Performing Arts Center. The Friends sponsors summer reading activities and quarterly book sales (to purchase hats, gloves and scarves for Toys for Tots , Inc.). The ECPL Friends are dedicated and strong believers in supporting the library. The Friends are innovative and amazing.

Congratulations Friends of East Cleveland Public Library, 2023 recipient of the Advocacy Award!