The Friday Follow-up: Allegany & Steuben Librarians Earn Scholarships

Friday Follow-up:
a message from Brian M. Hildreth, STLS Executive Director
Allegany & Steuben Librarians Earn Scholarships

Phil Trautman, director at Cohocton, gives STLS a tour of his facilites shortly after taking the lead at his library. Phil along with Justin Zeh, Kate Miller, Niki Gordon and Melanie Miller are this year’s NYLA scholarship recipients through STLS.  Photo credit: Margo Gustina.


Learning is all encompassing to the work we do. It is in our mission. It is how we develop the structure of our libraries (literally and symbolically) and it is what our patrons and community members seek. We are on a continual path of human understanding.
A few years ago STLS made a commitment to aid in the pursuit of knowledge for member librarians and trustees. We did this by (1) providing more training opportunities, (2) sending consultants to libraries as often as possible, (3) developing three annual conferences for member libraries, (4) adding a trustee training curriculum to our service model and (5) spending money on member librarians who wish to attend state and national learning platforms.
Within three years, we can subjectively and objectively witness the success of this investment. One relative source of data, the Statistical Report of the Southern Tier Library System, indicates our librarians and trustees are more engaged with their communities today than in 2014. Our member libraries are doing really good things because they love their communities and take advantage of system resources.
Last week, I announced our 2017 Annual Meeting and Conference. STLS staff and trustees are honestly looking forward to meeting with our members. It is the few times of the year we all get to roll out the red carpet for you. Moreover, we get to celebrate your accomplishments, which inspires us to work even harder on your behalf.
Today, I want to mention five professionals who have done some wonderful work. I am happy to say they were chosen by the Public Relations Committee of the STLS Board of Trustees to receive full scholarships to this year’s New York Library Association Conference in Saratoga Springs. Combined, it is a $5,000 investment in their professional development for the benefit of our communities.
Our 2017 scholarship recipients will be acknowledged at this year’s annual meeting and they include: Justin Zeh (Avoca Free Library), Kate Miller (David A. Howe Public Library, Wellsville), Melanie Miller (Alfred Box of Books Library), Niki Gordon (David A. Howe Public Library, Wellsville) and Phil Trautman (Cohocton Public Library).
I can recall the first time I met each one of these professionals. Justin Zeh was participating in an Avoca Free Library board meeting while STLS was consulting on funding referendums. It was clear he was aware of the library’s needs and where he wanted the organization to go. They are headed in a really good direction.
Kate Miller was working the circulation desk of the Belmont Free Library while I was visiting libraries in Allegany County. Although she was busy assisting patrons, she took the time to talk to me about their library and why she is passionate about her work. It evidently runs in the family (her mother is the director at Scio Memorial Library).
My first introductions to Melanie Miller and Phil Trautman were during new director orientations. It is simple to remember meeting them at their libraries because they were filled with ideas and excitement. It was a new adventure for both of them, and they were ready for the ride.
Lastly, I met Niki Gordon during a job interview. I was director at Wellsville’s library and she was applying for a Library Clerk position. The decision to hire her was straightforward. I am glad to see she is still serving at the David A. Howe Public Library and has been promoted to Circulation Operations Manager.
We appreciate all that these professionals have accomplished within our region. We also can’t wait to see what they do with the information they gather at the NYLA Conference this fall to even better their libraries’ services.

Have a fantastic Labor Day Weekend. And, don’t forget to register for the 2017 Annual Meeting and Conference of STLS.
Kindest Regards,
Brian Hildreth, Executive Director
Southern Tier Library System
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