Chambers County Library state's only Gold Star winner

Valley Times-News, The (Lanett, AL) - Monday, April 19, 2010

HUNTSVILLE - The Chambers County Library was honored with the Alabama Library Association's Gold Star Award during a ceremony held at the association's state convention on April 16 at the Hilton Embassy Suites in Huntsville.

The award has been given to only a select few Alabama public libraries that meet a strict set of Special to Times-News criteria that are carefully established and reviewed by the ALLA's Public Library Standards Committee. This year, the Chambers County Library was the only library in the state to earn the honor. Overall, fewer than 10 libraries statewide have ever been presented the award.

"It's extremely rewarding to receive this honor from the Alabama Library Association," Library Dir-ector Mary Hamilton said. "The staff here works hard to make this library something the community can be proud of, and I think this is an honor that everyone here is deservedly excited about.

"While we'll never stop striving to be better, to offer our patrons more, this award helps us know that we're on the right path. I'm very proud of our library , and I'm very proud of the dedication the staff here demonstrates every day." Libraries considered for the award are judged in 13 primary categories, with each of those containing numerous subcategories.

A few of the scrutinized areas include services, collection, technology, administration, planning, promotion and partnering.

" Libraries up for the award are carefully vetted in approximately 50 categories and subcategories overall," Hamilton said. "It's an extremely rigorous examination that focuses on almost every aspect of a library 's operation.

If you fall short in even one small area, you're kicked out of consideration.

"That's one of the things that makes this award special. It's not based on popularity or anything of that nature. It's based on empirically measured data. To get it, you have to earn it." Hamilton, who has served as library director since 2003, also received a personal honor at the ceremony in Huntsville when she was sworn in as chairelect of the Public Library Division of the Alabama Library Association after having served the past year as the secretary of the four-member executive board.

"I was asked at the last minute last year to have my named placed on the ballot in the statewide election, and frankly, I was shocked when they told me a few days later that I'd won," she said. "Now that I've gotten my feet wet by serving as secretary, I'm looking forward to taking on a new role as chairelect.

It's a high honor to be entrusted by your peers to serve in this capacity." The mission of the Alabama Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, advocacy, and improvement of library and information services and to promote the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. Section: News
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Record Number: 1944914739
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