Ricki V. Brown Librarian of the Year Award
About the Award
This award was established by the Friends of the Library to honor former City Librarian Ricki Brown, who headed the Abilene Public Library from 1998 to 2013 before her passing.
Recipients are nominated by the community and selected in recognition of outstanding leadership and accomplishment in library science representing public, academic, and school libraries in Abilene.
Award recipients are announced each September. Award recipients receive a $500 award and their name is added to a commemorative plaque at the Abilene Public Library.
List of Past Award Recipients
Heather Carter is one of our newest librarians at the Abilene Public Library; however, she's been an longtime employee having served in the circulation and children's departments, as well as having worked at each of the three branch libraries. As a librarian, Carter has increased services for the adult demographic, offering many outlets for the community to come out and have some fun, while learning at the same time.
Carter was crucial in the setup and running of the Main Library's Creation Station, a makerspace that's open to the community to come out and use various tools for completing projects. She has also created a set of maker kits that can be checked out and taken home so adults can learn a new hobby, to see if they like it or not, before investing in the materials themselves. Such kits cover calligraphy, crocheting, soap making, loom knitting, and a host of other hobbies. Carter leads several successful programs for adults including a monthly crafting workshop, a crochet and knitting club, and informational learning workshop, as well as being on hand to assist the public in all the library needs.
An active member of the Texas Library Association, Carter also is on their Lariat Committee of professionals in the state selecting great reads for the adult audience for promoting. We're happy to see she's the recipient of this award and we expect to see a lot from her in the future.
Janis C. Test
Janis Test is a well-known face at the Abilene Public Library and within the community. Test serves as the Information Services Manager for the Abilene Public Library. In this area as a librarian, she was a go-to person for knowing what was going on at the library. Test manages the weekly @ the Library column keeping the community informed on what the library is doing, helped to establish the Creation Station makerspace at the Main Library, and was also instrumental in assisting with the circulation of library materials to student within the Abilene Independent School District.
Along with these initiatives, she also help establish new services and activities offered to adults including a popular Genealogy Lock-In series for local enthusiasts that was conducted after hours, the Coffee & Conversations program in conjunction with the West Texas Homeless Network. Plus, when it came to history, especially local and Texas history, Test was one of the best resources at the library to seek out for assistance.
Also a valuable resource to the Friends of the Library, assisting a publicity chair on their large-scale events and activities, Test's dedication to her work as a librarian is one that truly exceeded expectations.
Tremain Jackson has been with the Abilene Public Library for 19 years and currently services as the manager of the Technology, Multimedia and Social Media Departments. This department was created for Jackson due to his continued work for representing the library online, overseeing its presence on seven social media platforms, while also serving as the library's webmaster to maintain the website.
With a passion for technology, Jackson assists patrons in learning to use their smartphones, tablets, and laptops, especially when there is a problem, through his TECH Time program. This program also serves as an outreach service to local retirement and assisted living facilities, allowing Jackson and his assistant to serve those unable to make it into the library.
Jackson also assists in marketing the library through some graphic design duties, documenting library's programs and services through photography and filming/producing content, which are then added to the city's government channel for residents to watch.
Eddy Smith is a library professional serving as the Executive Director of the Abilene Library Consortium, as well as being a long-time Friends member and former board member. As a librarian of 25 years, Smith has spent the past 10 years heading up the Consortium, a regional nonprofit organization for all types of libraries, museums, and information organizations.
Smith is known for his hard-working nature and dedication, along with an infectious personality and laugh that certainly rubs off on you. It's no wonder Smith was nominated and selected as this year's recipient, an honor certainly well-deserved.
Denise Brunner is well-known in the Abilene school system, serving as the district's early childhood librarian and more notably serving as the lead librarian for five elementary schools including:
When it comes to promoting literacy in our community's future leaders, Brunner has been instrumental with launching the Million Word Reader program, designed to encourage reading throughout the school year, which leads to continued reading through the summer. Not only are students asked to read, but they also need to comprehend what they've read, demonstrated through tests. It's a highly successful initiative that certainly does get students engaged in literature.
Alyssa Crow has served as the first children's librarian at the South Branch location of the Abilene Public Library since 2005. As her first position as a librarian, Crow has become a strong force when stressing the importance (and love) of reading to kids, families, and the community.
Crow was nominated for introducing literacy kits to the library lineup in 2015, of which will be replicated at all library locations in 2017. This venture was funded through a grant from the Texas Book Festival, providing children and families with resources to checkout for strengthening reading skills in youth up to Grade 5.
Kristy Compton is a familiar face at the Abilene Independent School District, serving as the librarian at Cooper High School. Always with a smile on her face and upbeat personality, Compton stated "This is the only award I've ever wanted to win. This is better than the lottery. This means more to me than money."
Compton was nominated not only for the work she has done, but also for her efforts in the genre-fication of the high school collection, as well as developing a program to check out old, out-of-circulation books to students who were unable to pay library fines.
Teresa Ellis, associate professor and theological librarian at Hardin-Simmons University, received the first Ricki Brown Librarian of the Year Award on Saturday, September 27, 2014. Ellis received this award for her efforts in enhancing awareness of Hardin-Simmons University's Richardson Library among students, faculty, and staff through an event titled "Ask Me." During this event, library staff stood in locations across campus and served as human information booths for students needing directions or needing help with general questions about the campus.