By Crystal McGough
Outgoing Clay Councilwoman Jackie Hambrick has been named Library Champion by the Jefferson County Public Library Association. This annual award honors those who have made “a significant contribution to libraries in Jefferson County.”
Hambrick was nominated by the Clay Public Library staff, after serving as the Clay Council’s library liaison for the last four years. She has put many volunteer hours into the library since before the library officially opened three years ago.
The library board held a reception for Hambrick at its board meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 23, which was Hambrick’s last meeting as liaison. The board told Hambrick of the award at the meeting. She said she had no idea she had been nominated.
“I was just about in tears,” she said. “They were so sweet. I didn’t even know that existed. I didn’t know they did that.”
The Library Champion award will be presented to Hambrick at the Jefferson County Public Library
Association’s Holiday Luncheon on Dec. 4. A delegation of library staff and other citizens will be on hand to witness the presentation.
“I’m just extremely honored, thankful and proud,” Hambrick said. “It’s going to be really fun to go to. It’s just real special to me.”
Clay Library Director Karen Moody said that Hambrick is a true advocate for the library.
“There is no one more deserving of this award,” she said.
According to the Clay Public Library’s November newsletter, “Anyone who knows Jackie and knows the history of our library knows that the Clay Public Library would not be what it is today without her persistence and her countless hours of hard work. We are thrilled that the committee agreed with our nomination and awarded Jackie this honor.”
Hambrick was nominated to serve on the City of Clay Library Committee in 2006. During this time, she worked to secure funding and create a proposal of costs to open a public library. In 2008, she was elected to the Clay City Council and continued to work towards bringing a library to Clay, as the council’s library liaison.
According to Hambrick, she has been working toward establishing and advancing the Clay Public Library for about seven years. She was involved with preserving Clay’s historic Jayford Ware house and getting the structure approved for a library.
“It’s really been a long history,” she said
. “We started working on seriously trying to save the house first, because it’s such a treasure. Clay doesn’t have a lot of historical structures left. Saving it was first and foremost. Then, establishing a good use for the city and the community, and that’s the library.”
Hambrick said that she believes the biggest accomplishment the library has seen was the hiring of Moody as the director of the library.
“You can have the building and you can have the books, but if you don’t have a great director, it really doesn’t work well,” she said. “I think getting Karen Moody as a library director was a really great move. Joy Lee, the assistant, has (also) been a huge enhancement to that staff.”
The second biggest accomplishment, according to Hambrick, was the establishment of the library’s programs.
“Not only did we get the physical structure there and then hire a fantastic director, but the programs that came along, the children’s summer reading program and the adult book club that we have,” she said. “Then the craft program that has been really, really successful. We want to continue to expand those programs.” Councilman Kevin Small will be starting a Science Fiction reading group this month.
Moody said that the library is currently in the process of reorganizing the Friends of Clay Library and Hambrick has expressed interest in becoming an active member to promote fundraising.
“The library is very close to my heart,” Hambrick said. “I will help in any way I can. That’s something you don’t just turn off.”
To Hambrick, the Clay Public Library is more than just a library.
“It’s a historical treasure for our community, too,” she said. “It’s a peaceful place. A place that you can go and get help. That’s what a library is all about. A wonderful place to read and to dream and to learn.”
After reading about past Library Champions, Hambrick said that being a Library Champion means going the extra mile for the library.
“It has to be a passion,” she said. “Something you truly care about making successful. But that success has been at the hands of many people, not just me. That’s what makes it great, just that everybody’s pouring their heart and time and effort into doing that.”
The Friends of Clay Library, The Clay Historical Society and outgoing Clay Mayor Ed McGuffie have all been assets to the success of the library, Hambrick said.
“How thankful I am to all the people that have supported the library and believed in the dream,” she said. “I thank all the people that helped to make the library dream come true.”
Photos courtesy www.jackiehambrick.com