The Sandy Berman Award for Social Responsibility in Library Services

June 15, 2000


Virginia Morris,Youth Services librarian at the Augsburg Park Community Library
in Richfield, Minnesota has been awarded the 2000 Sandy Berman Social Responsibility
Award for her tireless efforts in bringing the world of books, stories and learning
to everyone in the community, but especially the under-served.

The award, created to honor Sandy Berman, head cataloger who retired after 33 years
with the suburban Hennepin County libraries, is given annually by the AFSCME Locals 2864
(representing HCL non-supervisory librarians) and 2822 (representing associate librarians
and support staff) to a staff person who has made a unique and invaluable contribution
to humanity through his/her work in Hennepin County Library.

Virginia saw a need for English as a Second Language (ESL) summer programs for elementary
aged children in Richfield and proceeded to create one with a grant from LCTS via the
Richfield Community Council. She connected to the Latino community by knocking on doors,
going to soccer games and church services, and putting up flyers. These efforts have
resulted in a big increase in library use by Latinos.

Due again in great part to Virginia's efforts, the Hennepin County Library Children's
Readmobile currently stops at Elliot Education Center, South Vista (a program for
teenage parents and their children), and a large apartment complex with a high
population of children who lack direct access to the library via public transportation.

She has worked with the city of Richfield's Public Safety Department to provide
cooperative summer programming, including the popular "practice ride on the school bus"
for kindergartners and their parents as well as working with the Recreation Department
to co-sponsor Winter Family Fun Day.

She has established a program matching one-on-one volunteer tutors and students,
and has worked very closely with the public and parochial schools in Richfield
where she regularly visits classes and presents story times. She has coordinated
the Title 1 Books by Mail program in Richfield and also participates in the
award-winning Family Read to Me.

Virginia was nominated by her co-workers, who agree that the entire community
of Richfield continues to reap the benefits of Virginia's outreach efforts to
ensure that everyone has equal access to library services.

Call Vicki Oeljen at the Augsburg Park Community Library at 869-5054 for more information.