By Shawn Kirkpatrick
It’s a first for the Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library and for its director, Rosanna McGinnis.
The library received the 2018 Silver Standard Award for Public Libraries. The Silver Award serves as a benchmark for other public libraries across the state.
Two years ago, when McGinnis became director of the library, she said it wasn’t up to standard to apply for any award.
“When I first got here I knew about the Silver Award, but I ran the numbers, and we didn’t even qualify for the Bronze Award. We worked really hard to get rid of the items that were dated, worn out materials and bring in new books, DVDs and audiobooks that people wanted to check out.”
Library directors from across the state submit a long list of services their libraries offer. Then, the facility is rated on planning, administration, the facility, collection, services, technology and several other categories.
“There is an extensive checklist that has to be filled out. It is a very lengthy process,” McGinnis said. “Then, we send that to the Public Libraries Division of the Alabama Library Association (ALLA), and a committee evaluates it and scores it.”
Mayor Gary Fuller said McGinnis and her team are doing exceptional work at the library.
“This award just proves that their efforts are making an impact on our community. I’m a frequent visitor of the Cooper Library, so I can honestly say the improvements, activities, projects and level of professionalism are stellar.”
McGinnis acknowledged it was all possible because of the hard work of the Cooper Library staff, the support from the City of Opelika administration and because of the people of Opelika.
“This award is particularly special to me because it’s showing me that what we’re doing is helping, we’re changing. We love our long-time patrons. Our goal is to reach the people that aren’t currently using the library.”
McGinnis concluded with an invitation to everyone to come to the library.
“If you haven’t been in a while, come back and see us. And a plus, we are now ‘fine free.’ If you have any fines, those have been wiped out. We want to make sure we are a community hub, not just a warehouse of books.”
McGinnis said her next goal for the library is to receive the 2019 Gold Award. “Several factors play into that: how many books we circulate, how many people have library cards, as our service grows, then we get more points. It’s a good recognition tool to show our citizens and city administration why what we do matters.”
For more information about the library or how to donate, contact McGinnis at the Cooper Library at 334-705-5385 or firstname.lastname@example.org.