OLC to Present Advocacy Awards During Legislative Day

The OLC continues its tradition of recognizing individuals who support Ohio’s public libraries and advocate on their behalf in the state legislature. Ohio Representative Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) and Kimber L. Fender, The Eva Jane Romaine Coombe Director of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, will be recognized at the OLC’s Legislative Luncheon at noon on March 29 in the Statehouse Atrium.

Rep. Smith will receive the Andrew Carnegie Award for his unwavering support of Ohio’s public libraries. He is currently serving his third term in the Ohio House of Representatives and is the Chairman of the House Finance Committee.

“Chairman Smith has been a champion for public libraries and has recognized the essential role they play in communities all across the state. His efforts to assure quality public library service to all Ohio citizens exemplify the spirit of Andrew Carnegie, the father of the modern public library,” said Michelle Francis, OLC Director of Government and Legal Services.

Cincinnati library director Kimber L. Fender will receive the A. Chapman Parsons Award for her work on behalf of Ohio’s public libraries. Ms. Fender currently serves as the Chair of the OLC’s Government Relations Committee and has testified many times before the Ohio General Assembly on issues that impact public libraries across the state. She was instrumental in the release of the OLC’s 2016 Return on Investment Study which quantified the value of Ohio’s public libraries in clear and understandable economic terms. In addition to her advocacy efforts in Ohio, Ms. Fender has represented public libraries on a national level at the ALA’s annual legislative event in Washington, D.C.

About the awards
The Andrew Carnegie Award is presented to government officials who have exhibited outstanding support of public libraries and their efforts to assure quality public library services to all Ohioans. Previous recipients of this award include Governors, Ohio House Speakers, Ohio Senate Presidents and members of the General Assembly. This award is so named because no one person has given more to public libraries than Andrew Carnegie.

The A. Chapman Parsons Award is given in recognition of significant activity or accomplishment in the area of government relations. It is named for the late executive director of the Ohio Library Association who defined the elements of successful library advocacy for 22 years. The award reflects Chap Parsons’ abiding interest in working productively with governmental authorities.