Executive Director Kate Lasky wins Oregon Library Association award

Kate Lasky, executive director of Josephine Community Libraries, Inc. (JCLI), was honored Wednesday, April 15, 2015, at the Oregon Library Association (OLA) annual conference in Eugene with the coveted Olé Award.

JCLI Executive Director Kate Lasky (left) holds her OLE award plaque with OLA Past President Penny Hummel.

JCLI Executive Director Kate Lasky (left) holds her OLE award plaque with OLA Past President Penny Hummel.

The award recognizes an Oregon public library employee who has displayed exceptional effort and excellence. The annual Olé Award was so named in recognition of the recipient’s efforts to “take the bull by the horns” and get the job done.

In November 2014, Josephine County residents narrowly defeated a ballot measure to establish a library district. Undeterred, Ms. Lasky and community supporters led a campaign to keep the libraries open. The “Yellow Envelope Drive” — which asked voters to give what they would have paid in taxes had the measure passed — raised an impressive $180,000. According to OLA Past President Penny Hummel, “Kate Lasky never, ever, EVER, gives up. Thanks to Ms. Lasky’s efforts, residents of Josephine County are still enjoying the many wonderful services their beloved library provides.”

Maureen Cole, Public Library Division chair, said, “Kate Lasky is the epitome of an Olé Award recipient. Her hard work and dedication, despite significant setbacks, is an example for us all. She is one of the unsung heroes that makes our Oregon public libraries exceptional.”

During the Public Library Division banquet dinner at the Eugene Hilton last night, Oregon State Librarian MaryKay Dahlgreen stated, “Kate Lasky and the library supporters of Josephine County make it clear that public libraries still resonate with Oregon communities. I look forward to the day when all of our public libraries are sufficiently funded and can bring their riches to all Oregon citizens.”

Upon accepting the award, Lasky said, “Right after the election, we chose to focus on the 15,000+ people who voted yes, and to give them a way to contribute what they would have paid in taxes if the measure had passed.” Lasky said winning this award was an affirmation to her. “Thank you for inspiring me to continue to fight for libraries in southern Oregon,” she said.

The Oregon Library Association (OLA) is a 1,000-member organization made up of librarians and library supporters at all types of Oregon libraries including public, school, academic and special libraries.