HOUGHTON, Michigan, October 11, 2018—Dillon Geshel, director of the Portage Lake District Library, has been awarded the Up and Comer Award for 2018 from the Michigan Library Association (MLA). Geshel will accept the award at the MLA Annual Conference in Novi, Michigan next week.
The MLA’s Up and Comer Award was established in 2012 to recognize a librarian who shows leadership early in his or her career. Honorees are recognized for expanding the role of librarian by being forward-thinking and moving libraries into the future.
“Winners of this award are energetic efficient librarians who push the boundaries of originality and creativity and help to establish a library culture that sets high expectations, promotes learning, and creates understanding of the library as an integral part of the community,” said Rachel Ash, MLA communications and membership manager.
“It’s such an honor to receive the Up and Comer Award this year. Libraries have so much to offer their community beyond the books on their shelves, and I’m passionate about the non-traditional ways we’re able to meet community needs,” said Geshel. “This award really speaks to the Portage Lake District Library’s ability to do that work in a meaningful way.”
Cathleen Russ, director of the Troy Public Library, nominated Geshel for the award. Russ served as his mentor in the MLA’s mentoring program when he was first appointed library director.
“From our first conversation, I was impressed by his strong desire to improve the Portage Lake District Library and make positive, necessary changes,” Russ said. “I was also struck by the fact that he had excellent instincts as to the right course of action to address those challenges. This is not common in a new director. Dillon had a comprehensive grasp of all the issues facing the library, lots of ideas on how to solve these problems and tremendous enthusiasm for the opportunity. In fact, Dillon’s insights and solutions to concerns at his library have also helped me to see some new possibilities for ways to improve the Troy Public Library.”
Portage Lake District Library Board President Jennifer Donovan said: “Dillon has been a breath of fresh air for our library. He has improved staff morale and raised community awareness of the library’s important role in the community. Under his watch, a library millage election passed with an amazing 9 to 1 margin. He has also initiated a large and growing number of innovative programs to make the library a true center for community learning.”
More support for Geshel’s nomination came from Maria Bergstrom, president of the Portage Lake District Library’s Friends of the Library. “Dillon demonstrates strong, community-minded leadership at our library and brings creativity and thoughtful innovation to his role as director,” she said. “Since stepping into the Director’s position, Dillon has worked hard to make the library a place that serves the needs of community members at all levels and stages of life.”