We’ve got award-winning staff!

This year has been a rollercoaster with more downs than ups! That's why celebrating the GREAT things that happen is more important than ever. That being said, we're thrilled to introduce you to award-winning PCPL staff, Caitlin Burns, Heather Severson, and Elma Shaffer! They were recently named the recipients of the Arizona Library Association's (AzLA) awards.

Caitlin Burns was awarded the Outstanding Youth Services Librarian Award.

Here is what her nominator had to say...

Caitlin demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to all the youth in Pima County as well as to the general public. In late April while libraries were closed due to COVID-19, Caitlin coordinated with community partners to provide pickup snacks for youth and their families at 12 Pima County Public Library (PCPL) locations. This was the first face-to-face service PCPL offered during the pandemic and it became a lifeline for hundreds of families.

Totaling almost 50,000 meals, snacks, and boxes of produce given out between April and August with the leadership of Caitlin and the snack program staff at PCPL:

  • 24,722 Grab-N-Go snacks given to kids
  • 3,643 boxes of produce given to families
  • 9,873 locker mate snack bags given to adults
  • 10,333 breakfast packs given to kids and families

Caitlin has made a difference at our library system, exemplified the mission of the Library, and has positively impacted the people of our community.

Heather Severson was awarded the Friends of the Oro Valley Public Library Support Staff Scholarship Award.

In her nomination letter, Heather had this to say about her commitment to her ongoing learning...

I enrolled at the iSchool at the University of Washington, inspired to make a career change to librarianship. I have worked as a Library Program Instructor for the Pima County Public Library since January 2015. Some of my most notable accomplishments include producing the IDEA+SPACE newsletter, educating colleagues about the library's digital resources for new library employees, representing the library at outreach opportunities Iike job fairs and conferences, and serving patrons of all ages.

I have a particular but flexible professional agenda for my education, experience and career preparation. This is half of the equation for me; the rest involves what I can contribute to my fellow learners. My curiosity, respect for others' experiences and viewpoints, and willingness to help my classmates and workplace colleagues, and celebrate their accomplishments, ensures that I am a valuable member of any team of adventurers in Information Science.

Elma Shaffer was awarded the Sharon G. Womack Outstanding Library Technician Award.

Here is what her nominator had to say...

Elma's commitment to working closely with the Santa Rosa community located south of Downtown Tucson reaches far beyond the requirements of her position. As one of four full-time staff member at this busy neighborhood library, Elma works tirelessly to develop new programs that engage, educate, and entertain the kids she sees each weekday when they come to the library after school. Through her own excitement, Elma instills a love of learning in kids while they explore STEAM programs together, She is not just a facilitator of these programs, but also an active participant. Elma is a dependable and caring adult that all children need in their lives to develop and grow. She takes the time to learn about the experiences of kids who use the library along with the serious challenges so many children in low-income communities face such as poverty, food insecurity, and fraught home situations. The emotional labor Elma expends on a daily basis cannot be overstated; this type of intangible work is a very important component of her unique position working with only a few other staff members in an extremely busy environment frequented by many young visitors.