On March 1, Berks County Public Libraries honored leadership and service excellence during its 20th annual awards celebration. The event recognized individuals and organizations for their support and contributions to public libraries in Berks County.
Members of the library community nominated an individual, group, or event that demonstrated outstanding commitment or service to their library and patrons. The Berks County Public Libraries (BCPL) Advisory Board considered nominations from 2022 and announced the category winners during the ceremony.
The evening began with the presentation of the library system’s most prestigious award: the Dreisbach Award for Exemplary Service. First presented to its namesake, Dr. Dodson E. Dreisbach, this honor is awarded to an individual or group for their outstanding contributions to the betterment of public library service development as a whole. This year’s recipient was Mike Najarian, systems administrator of Reading Public Library.
A new category debuted this year to recognize an area of individual service: library volunteers. The BCPL Advisory Board was pleased to present Weston Niemczyk of the Muhlenberg Community Library with the inaugural award for Outstanding Library Volunteer.
Board member Debbie Noel spoke to Weston’s dedication to his library in addition to other hobbies, such as participating in the Unending Promise Autism Spectrum Disorders Support Group. Debbie also noted Weston’s enthusiasm and organizational skills help keep the library neat and tidy while his perseverance and willingness to assist with any task serves as a great asset.
The full list of award recipients from the 20th annual awards celebration are as follows:
Dreisbach Award for Exemplary Service — Mike Najarian, Reading Public Library
Linda Baer Friend of the Year — Annette Heffelfinger, Kutztown Community Library
Trustee of the Year — Bernville Community Library Board of Trustees
Outstanding Local Business — Firefly Bookstore
Outstanding Library Director — Debe Donley, Bernville Area Community Library
Outstanding Library Staff Member — Linda Capozello, Reading Public Library
Outstanding Library Volunteer — Weston Niemczyk, Muhlenberg Community Library
Outstanding Fundraising Effort — Rock the Library, Village Library of Morgantown
Outstanding Program — Beyond Kutztown, Kutztown Community Library
Chet Hagan Memorial Public Relations Award — Reading Public Library