Columbus — Today, more than 200 public library leaders and supporters gathered at the Statehouse for the Ohio Library Council’s Legislative Day. The event kicked off at the Sheraton on Capitol Square with a special recognition of two key library supporters: Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine and Ohio Senate President Pro Tempore Jay Hottinger.
Mrs. DeWine was recognized for her efforts to improve early childhood literacy and for expanding the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library across the state.
“Ohio is lucky to have a First Lady who is so passionate about Ohio’s children and literacy,” said Michelle Francis, Executive Director, Ohio Library Council. “We were happy to partner with Mrs. DeWine and her team when the program was first introduced. Our libraries take every opportunity to encourage families to sign up, often during storytimes and Kindergarten readiness programs. We share the same goal of helping children discover a love for reading.”
Ohio Senate President Pro Tempore Jay Hottinger was named the recipient of the Andrew Carnegie Award for his unwavering support of Ohio’s public libraries.
“Senator Hottinger has been a champion for public libraries and has recognized the essential role they play in communities across the state,” said Michelle Francis, Executive Director, Ohio Library Council. “He was instrumental in ensuring public library funding in the last state budget and worked to secure funds so that libraries could continue to provide services and operate safely during the pandemic. Senator Hottinger’s commitment to quality public library service in Ohio exemplifies the true spirit of Andrew Carnegie, the father of the modern public library.”
Throughout the day, library administrators and supporters visited with members of the Ohio General Assembly. They discussed the many ways libraries help their communities, especially over the past two years, from distributing Covid testing kits to loaning WiFi hotspots. Right in the middle of National Library Week, this event was a great way to show how Ohio’s public libraries connect their communities through the services, programs, and expertise they offer. Ohio’s public libraries enjoy the highest library use per capita in the nation with more than 8.4 million cardholders.
About the Andrew Carnegie Award
This 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.