The Heart of a Champion Award was established in 2012 by the Michigan Library Association.
Purpose: This award recognizes a library supporter (e.g. elected official, trustee, community supporter/business or individual, strategic partner) who has shown an exceptional commitment to libraries and/or the library profession. More than one award may be given in any year.
This year we are happy to give four Heart of a Champion Awards.
Heart of a Champion - Representative Bill Rogers
As a representative of District 66 in Michigan, Bill has made a tremendous effort to educate himself about the many ways that libraries add value to their communities. Whether learning about the support that libraries give job seekers, seeing the link between strong libraries and strong local businesses, or understanding the issues surrounding the role that libraries play in early childhood education, Bill has done his homework.
In 2012, under the leadership of Representative Bill Rogers, Chair of the House K-12 and Education Appropriations Subcommittees, libraries found a champion. He is responsible for $1.5 million in renaissance zone reimbursements being reinstated for public libraries. He led bipartisan effort which increased state aid to libraries to $500,000 for the first time since 2000. He also maintained an $800,000 increase for the Library of Michigan to support the library’s acquisition of databases and other online resource programs for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Bill is the first leader in Michigan’s legislature to increase library funding since 2000, which is why he is deserving of the 2012 Heart of a Champion award.
Heart of a Champion Award-Gale
Many of us in the library profession use Gale products on a daily basis, from their print materials to their wide-range of databases. Many of us know that when we purchase a Gale product, we are getting quality. What you may not be aware of is their continued support to Michigan libraries.
In 2009, Gale partnered with all Michigan libraries to support the “Protect Michigan Libraries” campaign. The Library of Michigan was under threat of closure and Gale stepped up and supported a statewide issue advocacy campaign to protect funding and the Library of Michigan. They contributed corporate leadership to speak at the rally, employees to help plan and participate in the rally, buses for librarians to attend throughout the state, funding for the campaign, and national media support.
In 2011 at the MLA Director’s Summit, Gale helped MLA launch a statewide initiative that was promoted nationally-Measuring Library Outcomes. This storytelling initiative taught library leaders how to articulate the value of library services to end-users and prove their relevance to funding bodies, media, and users.
Gale has also been a longstanding strategic partner with MLA. Gale has contributed $73,500 to MLA since 2006 to help maintain advocacy and professional development for libraries and library professionals in Michigan. In 2007 they became the first ever Diamond sponsor of MLA’s annual conference and have retained that title and distinction ever since. For these reasons and more, Gale is deserving of the 2012 Heart of a Champion Award.
Heart of a Champion Award-Library Design Associates
As a library supporter, Library Design Associates has exhibited at the Michigan Library Association Annual Conference for at least the past 15 years, if not longer. Chris deBearwas asked once why Library Design Associates always exhibits at Annual Conference and supports the exhibitor breakfast. He said that the library community has given him many opportunities to make their libraries and collections easily accessible to their users. For their trust and confidence, he feels he has a responsibility to give back to this profession. While he can’t visit every library to say thank you for their support, he can be here at conference as an exhibitor, visit with the many, and at the same time support MLA’s efforts on behalf of libraries.
For their service and support to the library community, Library Design Associates has been awarded the 2012 Heart of a Champion award.
Heart of a Champion Award-Richard Root
Richard Root served the city of Kentwood for 33 years, first as city commissioner, then as mayor. During his tenure as mayor, Richard was a strong library supporter and was almost single-handedly responsible for the successful passage of a millage in 2008 to build the new KDL Kentwood Library Branch. Not only did he lobby and succeed in getting the city commissioners to support the new library project, he organized the millage campaign committee and invited citizens to his home to discuss how to galvanize voters around the exciting prospect of a new library in the community. Richard took his message on the road and met with businesses, groups, and individuals about the need for a new library. He met with editors of the Grand Rapids Press and got their endorsement for the millage. He met with the Kentwood Foundation and got them to fund the costs of the campaign. Following months of campaigning, Richard was proud to hold the victory celebration in his home after the citizens of Kentwood passed the millage by 68%.
Richard’s work didn’t stop with the successful passage of the millage. He continued to support the library throughout its construction by attending building planning meetings and advocating for donations towards the project. Prior to the library’s grand opening in August 2010, Richard put his final touch on the building by establishing a committee to use the remaining donated funds to purchase artwork for the new library.
For his efforts in building a new library in the City of Kentwood and for his unwavering support for the value of the public library in the Kentwood community, Richard Root has been awarded the 2012 Heart of a Champion award.