SLIM Recognizes MLS Alumni for 2016 National Award Winning Skills in Bringing the Library to the Community

July 29, 2016

Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library of Topeka, Kansas, has been named the 2016 Library of the Year by Library Journal magazine and Gale, a part of Cengage Learning. The Library of the Year is a prestigious recognition awarded to a library that profoundly demonstrates service to community, creativity, leadership and innovation in developing community programs. 

The Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, which employs 30 alumni of Emporia State’s School of Library and Information Management, was recognized for ingenuity in bringing library staff, and their knowledge and skills, out from behind library walls and into all areas of community life.

“There is something special happening in Topeka & Shawnee County that is a model for innovative library work everywhere,” said Rebecca T. Miller, editorial director of Library Journal. “As never before, libraries are conveners of the most important conversations that shape our communities and igniting the relationships that make positive changes possible. Above and beyond all the services and creativity we expect from an excellent institution such as this, this library and its broad leadership is embracing its capacity to take this important role to a new level. For exemplary work, we are proud to name the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library the 2016 Library of the Year.” 

“We are very proud of everyone at TSCPL, particularly the 30 staff who are graduates of the School of Library and Information Management, Master of Library Science degree program, and three staff who are current MLS students,” said Dr. Mirah Dow, SLIM professor. “This wonderful award comes as no surprise to me. I have had many of these individuals in my classes. I have observed first-hand their high capacities. We congratulate them for their outstanding work to take library staff and resources to the community. Their innovation and creativity exemplifies SLIM’s long-standing tradition of graduating outstanding library professionals who have specialized knowledge, leadership and technical skills and essential core values that define, inform, and guide professional practices.”

At a reception on June 26, 2016, during the American Library Association Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, TSCPL Chief Executive Officer Gina Millsap and library staff were presented $10,000 in prize money.

Listed below are names and position titles SLIM alumni who are current students and/or graduates who are now working at TSCPL in Topeka, KS.

Details about this award contained in this article were published by Library Journal. To learn more about the award, and about the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library and their work reaching the community, visit

For more information about ESU’s Master of Library Science degree program, please contact Dean Wooseob Jeong at or Dr. Mirah Dow, professor and director, Ph.D. Program at


ESU SLIM Alumni Currently Employed at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, Topeka, KS

  • Patty Akrouche, Public Service Specialist, Outreach Services
  • Natalie Allen, Public Service Specialist, Outreach Services
  • Robert Banks, Chief Operating Officer
  • Amber Bonnett, Digital Branch Librarian
  • Paul Brennan, Director of Collections
  • Lisa Brien, Youth Services Librarian
  • Deborah Bryan, Public Service Librarian
  • Shannon Eddings, Database Administrator
  • Katie Escher, Cataloging Paraprofessional
  • Scarlett Fisher-Herreman, Technical Services Supervisor
  • Martha Gronniger, Collection Development Professional
  • Thad Hartman, Community Services Manager
  • Perry Hartmann, Collection Development Professional
  • Sandy Hestand, Community Services Supervisor
  • Cadie Maas, Cataloging Librarian
  • Marta Miles, Public Service Librarian
  • Terry Miller, Business Librarian
  • Betty Jean Neal, Youth Services Librarian
  • Rebecca Paquette, Youth Services Librarian
  • Renee Patzer, Cataloging Librarian
  • Danielle Payne, Library Associate
  • Marie Pyko, Public Service Director
  • Valerie Reif, Public Service Librarian
  • Ruth Rodden, Circulation Supervisor
  • Shari Schawo, Trainer
  • Shelby Schellenger, Public Service Specialist
  • Sara Shupe, Acquisitions Paraprofessional
  • Abigail Siemers, Public Service Specialist
  • Meredith Snepp, Public Service Specialist
  • Luanne Webb, Infant and Preschool Librarian


ESU SLIM Current Students at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, Topeka, KS

  • Miranda Ericsson, May 2017 Public Service Specialist
  • Autumn Friedli, December 2016 Public Service Specialist
  • Nathan Pauley, August 2016 Web Developer & Web Systems Administrator



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