2022 Awards & Honors


2022 Awards Announcements

The Wisconsin Library Association is pleased to announce the 2022 Library Awards & Honors recipients for their outstanding contributions to libraries and librarianship:

Librarian of the Year
Angie Bodzislaw
Spooner Memorial Library
Nominated by: Katy Larson, Spooner Memorial Library

Library of the Year
McIntosh Memorial Library (Viroqua)
Nominated by: Trina Erickson, McIntosh Memorial Library

Programming Innovation Award
Elisha D. Smith Public Library (Menasha)
Nominated by: Brian Kopetsky, Elisha D. Smith Public Library

Trustee of the Year
Jenny Nelson
Oregon Public Library
Nominated by: Jennifer Endres Way, Oregon Public Library

WLA President’s Volunteer Award
Kristina Gómez
WLA ALA Councilor
Madison Public Library

The Wisconsin Library Association congratulates each winner and will celebrate their accomplishments at the Awards & Honors Reception during the WLA Annual Conference, November 1 - 4, 2022 at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva.

The WLA Awards program is supported by the WLA Foundation, through individual charitable contributions, and through the generous support of EBSCO.  WLA engages, inspires and advocates for library workers and supporters to improve and promote library services for the people of Wisconsin.  The awards program is one way the association acknowledges the dedication of its members to provide exemplary library service.

Librarian of the Year - Angie Bodzislaw

Angie Bodzislaw's nominators selected her for her dedication, both as director and as a pillar of their community. When Angie began at the library, she started as a children’s librarian. Within a year, she was working as both the Director and Children’s Librarian, all while she earned her Master’s degree. She has a Wisconsin DPI Grade 1 Public Library Certificate. During her tenure, Angie has accumulated many professional accomplishments. Under her direction, circulation and program attendance increased and the library began to be nominated for awards. In 2020, the Spooner Library was awarded Community Involved Business of the Year in Washburn County. The county also received an Innovation Award due to Angie’s COVID response, in creating food and care distribution packages. Library services are extended through partnerships and successful grant applications. Angie has extended the library’s services through collaborative partnerships and success in applying for grant funding, for both their summer reading program and bookmobile. With the bookmobile, the library can provide meaningful service throughout their rural community. Beyond her role as Library Director, Angie serves the local community through the Shell Lake School Board. She serves the library field as a chair for NWLN, co-chair for WAPL, and as members of the CCBC Advisory Board and IDEA Team. Angie has dedicated herself to Spooner, library science, and Wisconsin throughout her childhood, education, and career. "She is one of the most widely recognized people in our community, not only because of her blue hair, but also because of her positive impact."


Library of the Year - McIntosh Memorial Library

McIntosh Memorial Library has been a community beacon in downtown Viroqua since 1904. Even when the library closed due to COVID-19 mandates library staff remained resilient. 45 days after closing, curbside services were implemented and shortly thereafter, when permitted, patrons accessed materials through contactless lobby service. Library staff organized a D.I.Y. face mask drive during the nation-wide PPE shortage for essential workers. Most impactful, a Library Band was formed. The librarians streamed and recorded their live performances. Plus coordinated for the recordings to be broadcast by a local cable television station to all cable subscribers including area nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The intent was to bring local, friendly messages and joyful music into homes. Following suit, when the mandates lifted, the Library Band traveled to nursing homes and assisted living facilities to relieve isolation and spur outreach, good memories, and joy. The library continues to provide hope as the only centrally located site for weekly COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics in the City of Viroqua. Due to her leadership of guiding the library through COVID-19 safety protocols, the tenured Library Director of 14 years, Trina Erickson, was appointed to serve as the City’s Public Information Officer by the Mayor. Since 2020 Erickson has been serving with the City Administrator as representatives of the city on the Vernon County Emergency Management and COVID-19 Response Team Committees. 118 years after opening, and especially through the uncertain times of a world-wide pandemic, the McIntosh Memorial Library continues to shine as a community beacon.


Programming Innovation Award - Elisha D. Smith Public Library

In 2021 the Elisha D. Smith Public Library began work to create a new program series and space entitled SMITHworks. SMITHworks is both a physical space and program series allowing patrons to explore interest areas, hands-on across a wide range of topics. SMITHworks programming transitions from patrons from reading literacy programming to deeper learning activities. Using that initial work as a stepping stone for people to develop 21st-century literacies framed around topics that are of interest to the community members. Topics including art, music, and coding among many more, serve as a focal lens to develop life and work skills in areas like critical thinking, teamwork, curiosity, and adaptability; again, to name just a few. The programming is built around creating a marriage of tangible and intangible skills community members can carry back into their daily lives. Our library has worked to build an ecosystem of learning. Our early learning programming and materials serve to create a base on which to build. Our programming, learning space, and materials then allow deeper exploration of topics both in the library and at home. Our digital resources augment all of this by allowing access to deeper knowledge even when the library is closed. Finally, we utilize our community members to both share their knowledge with others as well as cheerlead the next generation.


Trustee of the Year - Jenny Nelson

“Rising to the Challenge” best summarizes Jenny Nelson’s leadership as Board President of the Oregon Public Library. Over the past 18 months, Nelson has invested countless hours and performed every task imaginable to tirelessly advocate for and realize a much-needed new library that can best serve community members. Nelson’s commitment, passion, and community-minded leadership is further distinguished by the unique challenges that she has successfully navigated. Highlights include: The Oregon Village Board voted to increase funding support for a new library from $6 million to $10 million, with Nelson leading the effort. Under Nelson’s resilient leadership, the Library Board and Village Board navigated the challenging decision to relocate the new library to a new and larger site resulting in a 6.9 acre property that will be able to serve the community into the future. The library’s capital campaign reached a total of $2.28 million in community donations (with Nelson as Co-Chair), despite the pandemic’s arrival halting fundraising efforts. Nelson advocated for sustainability goals for the new library project including geothermal and solar, resulting in an additional $600,000 in Village funding to include these initiatives. The Library Board achieved many important service goals including elimination of overdue fines and creation of new staff positions in 2021 and 2022, under Nelson’s leadership. Nelson attended, led, and spoke at meeting after meeting, serving as a voice for the library and the community. Nelson played a critical role in maintaining donor confidence through project challenges due to her transparency, vision, and focus community needs.

 WLA President’s Volunteer Award - Kristina Gómez

Kristina Gómez is award the 2022 WLA President’s Volunteer of the Year Award in recognition of her steadfast and keen work on intellectual freedom issues for Wisconsin libraries.

Having previously worked at Milwaukee Public Library, Kristina Gómez currently works at Madison Public Library as a Community Engagement Librarian

Ms. Gómez has filled many roles at WLA over the years, including Intellectual Freedom Roundtable Chair and Webmaster; WLA Foundation Scholarship Committee member; and Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table Chair. Most recently, she has served as WLA’s ALA Councilor, providing regular updates on important issues and communications from the American Library Association and representing WLA and Wisconsin libraries at ALA conferences.

In 2022, with prescient timing, Ms. Gómez initiated the WLA Intellectual Freedom Special Interest Group (IF SIG) to provide a forum for library workers and advocates who are committed to, and passionate about, intellectual freedom. Ms. Gómez’ leadership and dedication to the topic reinvigorated discussions within WLA about local and national trends in intellectual freedom which are of ever increasing importance.

Ms. Gómez’ steady devotion to discussing difficult topics, developing a plan to address challenges, and defending intellectual freedom at Wisconsin libraries demonstrates that she is worthy of the 2022 WLA President’s Volunteer Award