Heidi Daniel Named 2015 Ohio Librarian of the Year

Heidi_Daniel_headandshoulders-grey-2YOUNGSTOWN  (June 30, 2015) – Heidi M. Daniel, Executive Director of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (PLYMC), was named Ohio Librarian of the Year for 2015 by the Ohio Library Council (OLC), the statewide professional association representing the interests of Ohio’s public libraries, Trustees, Friends and staff members.

On learning of the award, Ms. Daniel was quick to recognize others for this honor: “I’m surprised, honored and grateful. To me the award is really a reflection of the incredible work of my team and our great community. No one does notable work alone and I recognize all the amazing people around me, both at the library and in our community, who made this type of award possible.”

The award will be presented to Ms. Daniel at the OLC’s Convention on October 7 in Cincinnati. She says, “I am honored to be recognized by the Ohio Library Council, which is a key organization to libraries throughout the state. The OLC has an important role in the profession state-wide. Ohio is known for its excellent library service and its highly qualified library personnel. It is humbling to have been chosen by this valued organization and from a field of highly distinguished nominees.”

The Ohio Library Council website notes that this award “Honors a librarian whose recent accomplishments have impacted the library profession and/or library service to the community.”

OLC lists this criteria for the award:

1) Exhibits distinguished service in the library community; 2) Demonstrates evidence of professional achievements; 3) Develops and implements new services; 4) Creates partnerships within the community to provide innovative services; and 5) Active involvement on the local and state level.

Nomination and InnovationsIn a nomination letter to the OLC, Library Communications/PR Director Janet Loew said, “I am honored to nominate her for the OLC Librarian of the Year Award for her leadership, forward thinking and innovative changes that have resulted in a new culture of ‘getting to yes’ and removing barriers to make the library even more accessible to our users. Additionally, she has enhanced the community’s awareness of our library system and furthered our already-positive image.”

Loew further states that the Library’s Executive Director is deserving of the award for her “demeanor, professionalism, knowledge of libraries, and, perhaps most importantly, her sincere desire to break down any barriers to library service with a goal of enabling and encouraging everyone to use the library.”

Among the innovations under Ms. Daniel’s leadership are: the pop-up library, which reaches people where they are gathering outside of a library, such as schools and community events; a series of new library cards which are tailored to the needs of different groups of people; the READ and TEEN cards which are fine-free to ensure that children and teens are not blocked from using a library; a digital card which is fine-free and fee-free because there are no physical materials checked out – the card is for use on library computers, the website, databases and more; new technology offerings; and much more.

Ms. Daniel has kept the library debt-free, even during two construction projects, the Tri-Lakes Library and the Canfield Library. She is a careful financial manager and was able to offer a reduction in the Library’s levy so that the last ballot issue lowered people’s Library property taxes.

Personal and Professional Achievements

Ms. Daniel came to PLYMC as its Executive Director in July of 2012. She came to Youngstown from Houston Public Library in Texas, where she began in 2005. At Houston Public Library, she began as Assistant Branch Manager and Juvenile Librarian and quickly advanced through several positions to her job managing 16 Houston libraries as Neighborhood Library Team Leader and District Supervisor.

She holds a Masters of Library Science degree from Texas Woman’s University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Woman’s Studies from DePaul University.

During her years in graduate school at Texas Woman’s University, Heidi M. Daniel was a Graduate Assistant, and at the time of her graduation was nominated for the Beta Phi Mu honor society.

At Houston Public Library, she worked tirelessly for innovation and change, and was nominated for, selected and participated in the Tall Texans Leadership program for librarians, which is provided by Texas Library Association.

Additionally, in 2007-2008 Ms. Daniel served on the Theodore Seuss Geisel book award committee for ALA.
Currently, Ms. Daniel has accepted an assignment on ALA’s Literacy and Outreach Services Advisory Committee from July 2015 – June 2017.

On a national level, Ms. Daniel is a member of the American Library Association, the Public Library Association, and has maintained active membership for PLYMC in the Urban Libraries Council. She is a member of the OLC and the OLC Legislative Network.
Additionally, since coming to PLYMC, Ms. Daniel has twice been a presenter for Library Journal’s “Lead the Change” physical workshops in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and just completed being a Coach Facilitator for the online “Lead the Change” course offered for librarians who are looking to develop their leadership skills further.

Ms. Daniel is also a member of the following: Ohio Presbyterian Retirement System – Initiative to expand educational horizons; Rotary Club of Youngstown; Mahoning Valley College Access Board; WYSU Public Radio Advisory Board member.