Winners announced in 21st Annual Berks County Public Libraries Awards Celebration

Berks County Public Libraries honored leadership and service excellence during its 21st Annual Awards Celebration. Presented at the Berks County Agricultural Center in front of a packed auditorium, the event recognized individuals and organizations for their support and contributions to public libraries in Berks County.

Members of the library community nominated individuals, groups, or events that demonstrated outstanding commitment or service to their library and patrons. The Berks County Public Libraries (BCPL) Advisory Board considered nominations from 2023 and announced the category winners during the ceremony.

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The evening began with the presentation of the Linda Baer Friend of the Year award. This award is presented in honor of Linda Baer, past President of the Friends of Berks County Public Libraries.

First established in 2016, the award held special significance this year following Linda’s passing in 2023. She was a driving force behind the Friends of Berks County Public Libraries for nearly 20 years, and this award aims to recognize the significant and substantial commitment of time, energy and creativity of a single member of a local library Friends organization. For her exceptional leadership skills and tireless dedication, Diane Pawling of the Friends of the Mifflin Community Library received this year’s award.

Advisory Board member, Helen Flynn, presented the Outstanding Library Volunteer award to Tori Johnson of the Fleetwood Area Public Library. Many in the audience wiped away tears during the speech by Tori’s mother, Jennifer, who expressed sincere gratitude to the library for providing an opportunity to Tori who has a deaf/blind diagnosis.

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In her nomination, Fleetwood Library Director Christie Brown noted, “Tori is always such a bright spot in our day and we are very grateful for everything she does here.”

The full list of award recipients from the 20th annual awards celebration are as follows:

Linda Baer Friend of the Year
Diane Pawling, Mifflin Community Library

Trustee of the Year
Christine Roth, Hamburg Public Library

Outstanding Local Business
Castañeda’s Mexican Restaurant, Robesonia

Outstanding Community Organization
The Food Trust, Philadelphia

Outstanding Library Staff Member
Charlotte Hoare, Kutztown Community Library

Outstanding Library Volunteer
Tori Johnson, Fleetwood Area Public Library

Outstanding Fundraising Effort
Book It! 5K Fun Run & 1 Mile Fun Run, Exeter Community Library

Outstanding Program
Teen Reading Lounge, Brandywine Community Library

Chet Hagan Memorial Public Relations Award
Exeter Community Library

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