The Julie Klauber Award Committee and Keystone Systems are pleased to announce Brenda Boyd, Reader Advisor, South Carolina State Library Talking Book Services, is the recipient of the 2019 Julie Klauber Award. It was an incredibly difficult decision, but we were thrilled to have had three wonderful finalists from which to choose. We look forward to honoring Brenda on June 4 during the Opening General Session of the 2019 KLAS Users' Conference in West Palm Beach, FL.
This the nomination for Brenda submitted by Denise Lyons, Deputy Director of Statewide Development, South Carolina State Library:
Reason for Nomination
One of the most significant events that the State Library holds each year is the TBS Student Art Gallery and awards which is completely organized by Brenda Boyd. Children with different and special abilities, including a large number from the SC School for the Deaf & Blind, create pieces of art which are judged based on different age categories. All staff and people coming to the State Library are eligible to vote. The Director also selects a piece of art as a special recognition. It takes numerous months to plan such an event. There are the logistics of working with the art teachers well in advance of the contest and all the promotion needed to have the numerous selections. They need to be brought to the State Library for voting. After a month of voting, the winners are named in a press release and Brenda arranges the art on the first floor at the State Library, gallery style so that all may enjoy the art. All winners, families, and teachers are invited to the Awards Ceremony along with the TBS Advisory Board, patrons, and supporters. The awards are followed by a reception on the main floor. Staff help Brenda to implement a lovely and touching ceremony with the Agency Director as emcee and a guest speaker from the arts community. All participants receive some recognition. You can see albums of the last two awards here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/scsl/albums/72157679200574414 and https://www.flickr.com/photos/scsl/albums/72157692620252332. Staff attends the event and listens to guests talk about the importance of art for those with vision loss in particular and what inspires the young artists. Brenda coordinates the contest and the award ceremony each year and has done for several years. It is a program that has been copied by other State Library Talking Books Services. Brenda is a very strong advocate for the program and does tremendous work behind the scenes so that on the day of the event, everything looks lovely and runs smoothly. Art is celebrated and the artists and their supporters are recognized. The event is personal and heartwarming, and this spirit, the spirit of Julie Klauber, is in Brenda Boyd.
Effect on Library
Brenda’s ability to provide excellent service means that she takes as many calls a day as possible. The Readers Advisors take thousands of calls per month and there are only five RAs on staff. She provides regular and consistent information provided in a kind way to connect with the patron. We receive numerous recommendations from families who lose loved ones that used the service and from patrons themselves. Some comments from recent appreciation letters include “My grandmother is 93 years old and these books on tape are her LIFE,” wrote one patron while another expressed: “Thank you for sending me your Talking Books. They mean the world to me.” Finally, one gentleman in the southern part of the state wrote about his mother who passed, and he said “I want you to know how valuable this service is to those who cannot see.” Even one of our Library Board members recently wrote, “I can’t thank everyone for giving (name) her only pleasure these last several months. She lived with anticipation of the blue boxes in her mailbox. We are HUGE champions for this service.” Patrons sent donations to TBS based on appreciation for Brenda’s service, including one patron who stated they will set up a memorial in their will. This important service, running a special library within a library, is crucial to the culture of the State Library. We believe in serving the underserved and value inclusivity and accessibility in all we do. In the past few years, the TBS team has created a strong outreach program with accessible kits called the technology petting zoo, of which Brenda helps take into the field. They are working across departments to promote the service with the Communications Team and create an accessibility team with the Diversity and Inclusive Services consultant, part of the Library Development staff. These kind of cross-departmental programs are important for Agency staff to learn about the work of Talking Books and the patrons they serve. It is not only a mandate of ours but one we passionately embrace. For many staff, Brenda’s experience on the TBS team often makes her a great representative from TBS for committees and projects.
Brenda is a Reader Advisor for the Talking Books Services department. Every day she provides assistance on the telephone to patrons to who call for a variety of services provided by the department. The TBS program is a lifeline for many elderly patrons who only have access to the talking book library (which includes digital and cassette recorders, large print, and braille collections) because it comes directly to their home. Others are restricted by health issues and cannot take advantage of traditional library service. Of the more than five thousand of TBS patrons, 226 are children. Being able to have a reliable system to access the information and connect to patrons preferences is an extremely important part of this very personal service. KLAS is most unique in this way and enables Brenda to be able to have reliable technology and a supportive community that assists the work serving our blind and physically handicapped community. Brenda is an active and knowledgeable user of the system, and participates in ongoing continuing education to increase her knowledge of the system and work of the Talking Books service.
Brenda has been a wonderful asset to this agency, its work, and the work of Talking Books Services. Her dedication is unparalleled. She represents librarianship and its values in the best way, and stands as a model for others in the agency and across all libraries and service organizations. Thank you for your consideration.