VLA Awards for 2009

At the 2009 Vermont Library Conference, the Vermont Library Association presented awards to two outstanding Vermont librarians: Michael Roche and Amy Grasmick, and to one terrific trustee: Tina Rotella.

Michael Roche, the librarian at the Department of Libraries Northeast Regional Library and consultant for about 50 public libraries in the area, received the Sarah C. Hagar Award, given for outstanding service in or significant contribution to the field of librarianship in Vermont. Many of the directors in his region wrote letters of nomination, all emphasizing his responsiveness, clear thinking and approachability. One librarian ended her letter with: “Michael is always there for us—answering the tough questions, advocating for better library service and sharing his wisdom, insight and experience.”

The Green Mountain Award went to Amy Grasmick, director of the Kimball Library in Randolph, “in appreciation for her courageous and principled defense of patron confidentiality,” in regards to the police investigation during the tragic Brooke Bennett case in June, 2008. When police demanded to seize the library’s computers, Grasmick, rightfully concerned about all the personal information on the computers and following the Board’s policy, stood firm that she could not hand them over without a court order. Eventually the police followed the correct procedures, and Grasmick willingly complied. Her actions showed courage, responsibility and adherence to the law—a good example for all librarians and citizens alike.

In addition to awards for librarians, VLA also gives out a trustee award, this year to Tina Rotella of the Rutland Free Library. In her nominating letter, Director Paula Baker cited Rotella’s amazing ability to do fundraising: “Through Tina’s goal setting, plans and leadership we have moved ahead dramatically. During her tenure our annual fund drive has increased net income by 300%….But beyond the money she has found for the library, she must be recognized for her ability to inspire a greater level of effort from all of us. Where there might be doubt, she is fearless. Where there is need she takes action.” Rotella is clearly an amazing asset for the Rutland Library.