It is with great pleasure that we announce our 2014 Librarian of the Year, Patricia Ryan.
Past-President Carrie Steinmehl, Librarian of the Year Pat Ryan, and Current President Nancy DuPree at SLIS Honors Day, 4 April 2014.
Pat Ryan has been a mover and a shaker in Alabama public libraries for the past 30 years. She began her career at Hoover Public Library, but she is most known and loved for the work she has done with the organization Public Libraries in Jefferson County (formerly Jefferson County Library Cooperative). Through the cooperative, Pat has done some amazing things. Included in her nomination packet were personal stories from area library directors who told stories of Pat taking time to meet with them to consult on difficult decisions, accompanying them to board meetings, advising them in areas of uncertainty, and generally always being there if they needed her. Pat is a true friend to all the many libraries in Jefferson County.
Pat has been involved in grant writing and implementation, including the Gates Foundation Technology Initiative in 1998 which brought the first computers for patron access to Jefferson County, and two years of NEH Big Reads. Her nomination packet noted her dedication to grant writing and her endless energy for seeking funding and support for the cooperative as well as individual libraries.
While Pat has steadfastly assisted the libraries of Jefferson County her entire career, she is most beloved for the incredible job that she did in keeping the cooperative together and running during Jefferson County’s 2011 financial crisis. During this time, the county cut 100% of the cooperative’s funding (approximately 1 million dollars), and Pat Ryan FOUND A WAY to keep things running by shrewdly reorganizing things and seeking new funding sources. Pat was able to generate thousands of dollars in support from patrons and corporate sponsors. In 2013, she was able to secure $101,000 in capitol funding for technology improvement for cooperative member libraries, and to sustain the automation system that the cooperative shares.
Pat, we honor you for your dedication to libraries and your passion for granting access to information to millions of people in the Public Libraries of Jefferson County! You are an inspiration to librarians and library school students all across our state. Congratulations!