HUMAN INTEREST STORIES

RPL STAFF MEMBER GETS NAMESAKE AWARD

Brought To You By Your Rapides Parish Library

Now in its ninety-ninth year, the Louisiana Library Association held its annual conference in March. One of the conference’s most highly anticipated traditions is celebrating the LLA Awards Reception. This event provides an opportunity for librarians and library workers to recognize organizations, authors, and colleagues for their contributions to the profession as well as their contributions to the provision of resources, education, and connection to communities around Louisiana.

At this year’s event, the Louisiana Support Staff Association of Libraries, a section of the Louisiana Library Association, introduced a new award. The Gail Goldberg Support Staff Lifetime Commitment Award was created to recognize dedicated library workers who have provided exemplary service and made outstanding contributions to the betterment of their libraries, communities, and the association. The award’s namesake, and the recipient of the inaugural award, was Mrs. Gail Goldberg.

A longtime resident of Glenmora, Louisiana, Mrs. Goldberg has been a friendly, helpful face at the McDonald Branch of the Rapides Parish Library for thirty-two years. She is the branch manager at that location, a role she has held since 1999. Mrs. Goldberg also enjoys participating in and bolstering community events as a representative of the Rapides Parish Library and in her personal time. She has coached numerous ball teams including several for Rapides West.

Her favorite recreation, though, is spending time with her husband of forty-five years, Alvin, her daughter Autumn, and her grandchildren, Alvin and Myah. Mrs. Goldberg stated during her acceptance speech that the loss of her teenage son Alvin, II in 2002 further spurred on her laudable volunteering in the community and with the library association. She commented that some of her darkest days were brightened by the service she has been able to provide to Rapides Parish Library patrons and LaSSAL members.

When asked about the significance of the award for other library workers, Mrs. Goldberg said it “is an award that [she] see(s) as dedicated to all people who are devoted to the library and what libraries stand for;” she also stated that she feels “it is important because it shows that the Louisiana Library Association values the support staff and honors their contributions.”

Having those contributions recognized with an award named in her honor was an almost inconceivable accolade for Mrs. Goldberg. According to Library Director Celise Reech-Harper, after the awards ceremony, Mrs. Goldberg was overwhelmed with emotion and shared that while she knew the award would be named in her honor, she did not believe that she would be the inaugural recipient. Director Reech-Harper noted that “this perfectly showcases the humble service that Gail has provided to our library and our community for decades. She is steadfast, compassionate, and dedicated. The benefits of her work and volunteerism extend far beyond her community, but I don’t think she ever focuses on its magnitude. Instead, her focus remains on the needs of others, be they community members or other library workers.”

This was perfectly summarized when Mrs. Goldberg showed the award to the young women she currently coaches for Shannon’s Dream. Her words of wisdom for young people who might consider joining the profession were that “there is always a challenge in the library. [You] can make a difference for all people who enter the doors. Working at the library lets you improve lives by giving the people what they need to live better lives.” She further emphasized the value of libraries for every individual and stated how proud she felt to be a longtime Rapides Parish Library staff member.

Heartfelt congratulations on the inaugural Gail Goldberg Support Staff Lifetime Commitment Award are sent by the LLA Executive Board as well as the staff and administration of the Rapides Parish Library.

The Rapides Parish Library administration and staff are committed to promoting lifelong learning and strive to provide the resources necessary to build a better brighter tomorrow for all residents of Rapides Parish.

For more information, please contact Sandie Flynn Buller at sandie@rpl.org or 318-445-6436 x1007.

Promoting literacy, guiding discovery, changing lives… for all

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