Hailey Public Library Director LeAnn Gelskey has won the 2019 Librarian of the Year award from the Idaho Library Association, for her wide-ranging efforts to expand and celebrate library programs in Blaine County and around the state.

“Your nomination emphasized the contributions you have made to the Idaho library community, and we felt that such efforts should be recognized at the state level,” stated Idaho Library Association Scholarship and Awards Committee Chairwoman Rami Attebury in a correspondence to Gelskey.

Gelskey is one of 237 full-time librarians at 104 public libraries in the state. Her nomination won out over potential winners from more than 850 libraries statewide, including nonprofit and academic libraries.

Gelskey joined the staff at the Hailey Public Library in 2001 as a part-time employee, was quickly promoted to the youth programs librarian position, then served as co-director with Nancy Gurney. She was appointed library director in 2010.

“Gelskey is an inspirational steward of thoughtful change within the Hailey Library,” City Administrator Heather Dawson said. “She balances well the traditional elements of a library with the need to modernize.”

Gelskey was the first librarian in Idaho to receive accreditation through the American Library Association/Allied Professional Association and has guided several of her employees toward higher education.

“She is an expert in library policy and politics, and used her skills by working with the Idaho Library Association as co-director in the past and overseeing the Legislative Committee during the last legislative session,” a press release states.

Gelskey implemented the Little Free Library book-houses around town, and has distributed books through The Hunger Coalition’s summer lunch program and to prisoners in the Blaine County jail. She assisted with a project to digitize the historic Mallory photograph collection several years ago and oversaw the Phoenix project, a recent reorganization and modernization of the library’s resources.

“LeAnn shows considerable talent and tenacity in managing the Hailey Library. We are proud of her,” Mayor Fritz Haemmerle said.

Email the writer: tevans@mtexpress.com

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