Manager at SWPL earns prestigious award

The Ohio Library Council has named newly retired office manager Martha Hamilton as their Supportive Staff Member of the Year for 2007.

"I am overwhelmed," said Hamilton. "It’s something I never dreamt would happen."

There are 250 library systems in the state of Ohio, all have office managers. Winning this award is quite an accomplishment.

The award is presented annually to a library supportive staff member who makes a significant contribution to the library’s development. During Hamilton’s 26-year tenure at the SWPL, she has certainly made a contribution.

In addition to starting Bucks for Books, Adopt a Topic, and bereavement foundations, Hamilton also helped raise over $300,000 to supplement state funding for the purchase of library materials and programming supplies.

"I went to different organizations to do fund raising and get grants," she said. "I never turned down the opportunity for library talk."

Her love for athenaeums stems from the idea that being in one can help with anything.

"You can get lost in everything," Hamilton remarked. "You could travel all over the world, learn to cook, there’s lots of things to learn about. You could spent 48 hours there and you wouldn’t even touch half of the things that live in the library. There’s so much to do, see and learn."

Learning during summer vacation seems a bit out of place, but not at the library where she worked. The SWPL has a summer reading program to which 6,000 children attended this past season.

"It’s great that they don’t just sit there and play video games," Hamilton said. "They use their minds and imagine. It gives them an opportunity to put their minds to use and sometimes to read their way out of certain situations."

Hamilton worked the first half of the year at the Grove City branch, but since her retirement in June, don’t expect her to sit on her laurels and watch her books collect dust.

"Every day, my husband and I have a literary hour where we turn off the television and sit and read," she said.

In addition to implementing literary hour at the Hamilton household, she also taught her two children the joys of reading. While they were growing up, she read them at least two stories a day and recited poetry to them while sitting out on a swing.

"That was our time together."

Books have a magical way of bringing out such strong emotions in people, but complete passion for the written word has a more profound impact.

The passion that Hamilton has for literature and libraries in general are what ultimately got her nominated, and eventually named, as the Supportive Staff Member of the Year.

The Ohio Library Council will present Hamilton with the award at the Columbus Convention and Expo Center on Oct. 12.

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