Athens Library wins program award

The Southeastern Library Association has honored the Athens-Clarke County Library for its recent One Book Athens series. The program won the Association’s Outstanding Program Award for 2022.

From the Athens Regional Library System…

The Athens-Clarke County Library is proud to announce that the library’s One Book Athens: One Book, Many Stories series has won the Southeastern Library Association 2022 Outstanding Program Award.

“I am so very proud of our team’s hard work on One Book Athens,” said Athens Regional Library System Executive Director Valerie Bell. “We are so thankful for our partners who made this series possible, and we are deeply honored to be recognized by SELA.”

One Book Athens: One Book, Many Stories was a year-long series of community events focused on the book Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds. The series was funded in part by a Community Catalyst grant by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Throughout 2021, a coalition of 18 local organizations led by the library hosted virtual book discussions and a virtual author event featuring Kendi, Reynolds and Dr. Sonja Cherry-Paul. The series also included a virtual presentation featuring UGA’s Dr. Llewellyn Cornelius, Dr. Caroline Medine Jones and Lemuel LaRoche, an in-person intergenerational Walk and Talk for teens and adults and a live Rabbit Box storytelling event. Associated events included visits by local author Hattie Thomas Whitehead and speaker Chris Singleton.

The series concluded with a one-day community bus trip to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala., for Athens residents and Clarke County School District middle school students in May 2022.

Community partners included: Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, Athens-Clarke County Unified Government Office of Inclusion, the Athens branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), Avid Bookshop, Books for Keeps, the Charles Knapper Project, Chess and Community, DIVAS Who Win Freedom Center, Envision Athens, Family Connection of Athens – Communities in Schools, Family Connection Neighborhood Leaders, the Jeannette Rankin Foundation, the League of Step, Rabbit Box, the University of Georgia Center for Social Justice and WUGA FM. In addition, the Clarke County School District partnered with the library for the community bus trip to Montgomery, Ala.

The honor was presented during an awards ceremony at the Southeastern Library Association and Mississippi Library Association’s “Libraries Uncensored” joint conference, October 11-14, in Meridian Miss., by Gordon Baker, Dean Emeritus at Clayton State University in Savannah, Ga., and coordinator of SELA Administrative Services.

Established in 1920, SELA aims to promote and foster library and information services in the southeastern region of the United States through cooperation, research and the encouragement of staff development. The organization recognizes an outstanding program of service every two years in an academic, public, school or special library in SELA member states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

The Athens-Clarke County Library is the headquarters of the Athens Regional Library System, which includes 11 library locations in Athens-Clarke, Franklin, Madison, Oconee and Oglethorpe counties. Visit athenslibrary.org to learn more about library services and programs.

Tim Bryant

Tim Bryant

Tim Bryant hosts Classic City Today, 6-10 weekday mornings on 98.7FM & AM 1340 WGAU in Athens.

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