Library Earns Award for ‘Above and Beyond’ Service to Students

Westerville, OH – The Westerville Public Library recently accepted the Terry Gordon Business GEM Award presented by the Westerville Parent Council.

On April 29, 2019, a reception was held to recognize the library along with 27 volunteers and district staff as Great Educator Mentors (GEM) who go “above and beyond” to affect the lives of the students in Westerville schools.

“It is a true honor to be recognized. We are grateful to be a part of a community with so many dedicated and passionate advocates for students. Our success is in large part due to the strong partnerships and unending support of parents, teachers, and school librarians. We benefit every day from your hard work,” said Erin Francoeur, Executive Director of the Westerville Public Library.

Accepting the award on behalf of the library at the reception on Monday, April 29, 2019 were Erin Francoeur, Executive Director of the Westerville Public Library and Shawn Smith, Board President of the Westerville Public Library.

The library is dedicated to promoting literacy education, encouraging passion-driven learning, and providing access to burgeoning technology. Before ever stepping foot in the classroom, parents can unlock their child’s potential for learning with storytimes, free books mailed to their home until age 5 through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, monthly delivery to preschools and daycares, and endless opportunities to socialize and learn with the ever-changing imagination station.

Students in grades K-12 can request daily delivery of library items to their school, with over 16,000 items delivered in the 2018-19 school year. Librarians visited classrooms 163 times in the 2018-19 school year and welcomed 1,381 visitors to the after-school homework help center. Meeting rooms and quiet study spaces for students and tutors provide opportunities for collaboration and an inviting place for learning.

To bridge the learning gap over the summer, students are encouraged to participate in a reading program that allows them to earn prizes for meeting literacy-related goals. "We all know that there is a 'summer lapse' in skills for students and the library is aggressively tackling that challenge to make sure that our students stay sharp!" said Westerville Parent Council volunteer and Westerville City School District GEM coordinator Tracey King. 

In addition, the library has partnered with Annehurst Elementary to work with students over the summer who live on the edges of the service district to build problem-solving skills, gain healthy coping skills, and engage with thematic lessons. According to Amanda Anderson, Reading Intervention Specialist with the Westerville City Schools in her nomination letter, "The staff at Annehurst Elementary...greatly appreciate the library for all the support they continue to give our students over the summer. Most importantly, the students that live at Brookeville Apartments look forward to their weekly library time. The library staff is always punctual, kind, creative, and energetic."

Pictured above are two of the staff members integral to the success of the Brookeville Apartments program: Julie Kerns, Outreach Manager and Meredith Fletcher, Library Link representative for the Westerville Public Library.

As students prepare for life after school, teens ages 12-18 are given volunteer opportunities to foster responsibility, build relationships, and gain leadership skills. They can attend ACT college prep classes or STEM-focused events to gain 21st century skills. School visits with popular authors such as Angie Thomas, Jason Reynolds, and Sharon M. Draper highlight the power of storytelling and help students discover new paths for their own creativity.

The library is proud to be a welcoming place for all students, teachers, and parents, serving as a bridge between school and home. According to King, "[T]he Westerville Public Library is a definite asset to our school system and helps to make it as wonderful as it is!" 

For more about the GEM Awards, visit


Last updated: 5/4/2019

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