Lebo library director Cynthia Richey to be honored

Published Feb 20, 2013 at 10:51 am (Updated Feb 20, 2013 at 10:51 am)

Cynthia K. Richey, director of the Mt. Lebanon Public Library, has a special place in her heart for children’s libraries, having started her career working with children’s books and programs.

Recently she was named the recipient of the 2013 Association for Library Service to Children’s Distinguished Service Award. The prestigious national award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to library service to children and to ALSC. The award will be presented in late June in Chicago.

“I’m stunned, surprised, deeply honored, as you can imagine,” Richey said. “It’s a shared award. I have worked with amazing colleagues in amazing libraries. This has been the best career ever.”

While in graduate school, Richey worked in a children’s library.

“I loved it and was committed to that. I worked in three children’s libraries before coming to Mt. Lebanon.”

She has served as the director of the Mt. Lebanon Public Library for the past 17 years, after beginning her library career in 1971. Currently, in the children’s library alone there are more than 65,000 books and other materials geared to the young readers.

Libraries play a vital role as they prepare children for their future lives in the global economy, Richey said.

In 1994, she was president of the Pennsylvania Library Association and was on the board of directors of the Allegheny County Library Association.

In 2006, Richey won the New York Times Librarian Award, and she is chair of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Council on Library Development, and is an Honorary Life Member of the Pennsylvania PTA.

“Cynthia has been active on the local, state and national levels, taking on more responsibility as she progressed to leadership levels,” said Carol Doll, Distinguished Service Award committee chair. “Her contributions to the children and to ALSC are far reaching and long lasting in developing literacy in children and in moving ALSC forward in a positive, helpful way that brings out the best in all of us.”

Even though Richey is director of the entire Mt. Lebanon library, she remains committed to the children’s section.

“I’m so honored. It’s great to do work that you absolutely love,” she said. “It doesn’t seem like work. A lot of the volunteer work I do has to do with the library, children and library families together. I’m still committed to children’s services and that they are the best they can be, at our library and across the country.”

Richey is an active member of ALSC and the American Library Association. In addition to serving as ALSC president in 2003-04 and on ALA Council, she served on numerous committees and as a priority group consultant.

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