State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) yesterday recognized two local librarians at his 10th annual Librarian of the Year award ceremony held at Pietro’s Coal Oven Pizzeria in Radnor.
Leach awarded this year’s School Librarian of the Year Award to Jennifer McKinnon of Gotwals Elementary School in Norristown Area School District. Leach recognized McKinnon for her amazing work with both students and their families. McKinnon inspires her students to step outside of their comfort zones through their reading, and she has helped to create parent workshops ranging from reading to coding. McKinnon has worked creatively to support her students and provide them with instructional activities, despite the limited funds available to her.
Elizabeth Barrie, of the Belmont Hills Library in Lower Merion Township, received this year’s Public Librarian of the Year Award. Leach honored Barrie for her compassionate leadership and her work in organizing a “Drag Queen Storytime” at the library, which helped to normalize drag culture for children. Barrie has created an accepting and positive space for the community through the various programs and events she has arranged in the library.
Leach’s Librarian of the Year event honors two outstanding librarians from the 17th Senatorial District each year – one school librarian and one public librarian. This year the event was hosted by Pietro’s Coal Oven Pizzeria in Radnor and sponsored by the American Reading Company and UGI Utilities. Winners received a special plaque and a $50 gift card to Pietro’s Pizzeria.
“I am honored to recognize Jennifer and Lizzie this year with my Librarian of the Year Award,” Leach said. “The work librarians do in the community is so important to children and adults alike. Librarians have to the ability to make people feel at home and create a welcoming environment for all. These librarians have certainly done that for their community, and I am thrilled to be able to celebrate them.”
“Growing up in Northeast Philadelphia, I often sought refuge in the library – it was one of the few places I could go without spending money. I was welcomed by the librarians, who would recommend books to me that helped shape me into the person I am today. Their guidance and support instilled in me a deep appreciation for the work that librarians do for the community.”