We are excited to announce the winners of the 2019 Clear Creek County Library District scholarships, Abbey Gothman of Idaho Springs and Claudia Plett of Georgetown. The scholarship program, in its inaugural year, provides $3,500 to a library cardholder and graduating senior from both the Idaho Springs Public Library and the John Tomay Memorial Library.
Abbey, the recipient of the Idaho Springs Public Library scholarship, has volunteered for our annual Summer Reading Program for five years, contributing approximately 90 hours of service to our Library District. Her favorite library program is Summer Reading because she loved being rewarded for reading, and she loved encouraging younger children to read. She plans to always support her community libraries.
The John Tomay Memorial Library cardholder scholarship recipient, Claudia Plett, also volunteered for five years during our annual Summer Reading Program, and she too contributed approximately 90 hours of service to our Library District. She believes libraries are all about the experience: the experience of turning the page that has made a difference in people’s lives, the experience of meeting the amazing staff at the library who have a large impact on her life, the experience of meeting new people through the library, and the amazing programs, activities, and experiences that the library has provided for her.
Why start a scholarship program?
Last year, our staff spent a day brainstorming and collaborating in hopes of coming up with a mission statement that spoke to the work we do and the role we play in our community. Hours of pondering, discussing, and brainstorming resulted in a colorful display of post-it notes and poster boards full of ideas to sift through. From that, we were able to distill everything down to the essence of what our staff believes to be at the heart of the Clear Creek County Library District. After trial and error, a survey, a round of public voting, and approval from the Library District Board of Trustees, we unveiled our mission statement:
The Clear Creek County Library District empowers our community through literacy, human connection, and equal access to resources.
We also developed the following value statements:
Preservation: We honor and conserve our rich history as we move into the future.
Lifelong Learning: We inspire curiosity, discovery, and self determination.
Inclusion: We celebrate diversity and welcome all.
Trust: We commit to honesty, transparency, and reliability.
Objectivity: We offer unbiased and uncensored access to information.
Kindness: We demonstrate empathy, gratitude, and respect.
Implementation of a scholarship program was identified as a means to demonstrate our commitment to our mission statement and our values. A scholarship is a vehicle for empowerment; with additional financial resources, we believe students will be better equipped to accomplish their dreams. To add to that, continued education (for which these scholarship dollars are intended) is a premier form of lifelong learning.
We also knew that reaching high school aged patrons was a priority for the Library District. High school students tend to visit libraries less frequently than elementary aged students. In our county, the proximity of the libraries to the high school also has a large impact on this trend. Rather than be complacent about this conundrum, we wanted to find ways to make the libraries relevant to high school students. A scholarship program, for which the primary selection criteria are library volunteerism, library program participation, and general library usage, is one way we hope to draw more students into the library and subsequently into the discussion around teen library services, while also rewarding students for their contributions and investing in their futures.
This idea was well received by the District Library Board, the Library Foundations, and the Friends of the Library groups. So much so, they more than doubled the scholarship amount we had originally proposed. Additionally, we received contributions from the Idaho Springs Mason Lodge #26 and an anonymous donor. We were fortunate enough to make two $3,500 scholarships for two graduating seniors from the Class of 2019, one for an Idaho Springs Public Library cardholder and the other for a John Tomay Memorial Library cardholder. The support for this scholarship program has been remarkable.
A huge congratulations to these dedicated library patrons and recent grads. We hope your accomplishments will take you far and wide, but that you will continue to make time to visit your local library.
Learn more about the scholarship program here.