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For more than 30 years, the MLA Librarian of the Year Award has recognized a librarian’s outstanding contributions and accomplishments to the library community over a long period of time. Winners of this award provide innovative library service to his or her community and promote collaboration among libraries. The MLA Librarian of the Year shows evidence of personal and professional achievement as well as initiative and creativity. They are leaders who provide cutting edge ideas that inspire people.

Cathleen Russ Named 2019 MLA Librarian of the YearCathy Russ photo in front of bookcase

The Michigan Library Association (MLA) is pleased to announce that Cathleen Russ has been named the 2019 MLA Librarian of the Year. Russ received the award during the MLA 2019 Annual Conference Awards Luncheon on October 17 in Novi.

Russ is a well-respected leader in the library community. Her letters of recommendation consistently state that she is a leader who inspires, embodies grace under pressure and empowers others to reach their full potential. Her heart for mentoring and educating the next generation of librarians is outstanding. Her enthusiasm for providing great service to the culturally diverse community of Troy is unending. With her vast knowledge of library administration, budgeting, customer service and collection development, Russ is sought out by librarians across the state for advice and mentorship.

“As we read through the letters of support for Cathleen’s nomination it became clear that she has been a guiding force for Michigan librarians on both a micro and macro level -- she has mentored library professionals one-on-one, taught our profession’s fundamentals and ethics in formal classroom settings, coached colleagues at statewide workshops, and advocated for all Michigan libraries on the Board of the Michigan Library Association,” said Juliane Morian, MLA Awards Subcommittee member and Annual Conference Chair. “In short, Cathleen elevates librarianship from occupation to vocation.”

Russ has served as Director of the Troy Public Library in Troy, Michigan since 2007. She holds a Master’s of Library and Information Science from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Arts, Honors, Communications from Loyola University Chicago. She currently serves on the Board of the Michigan Library Association.

Past Librarian of the Year Award Winners

2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017

Librarian of the year winners 1988-2019 (pdf)


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