Linda G. Wright Award

2020 Linda G. Wright Award* Recipient, Michelle Ross

Michelle is the current Branch Manager for the Sissonville Branch Library, replacing Pat Abbott, the 2015 winner of this same award.  Other positions Michelle has held in her time at KCPL include the role of Teen Services Librarian at the Main Library and Branch Manager at the St. Albans Branch Library.  In each position she has been in, she has left her mark with her positivity, friendly yet professional demeanor, and willingness to strive for excellence within and for KCPL.  Michelle plays a dynamic role in many areas of the library system – as one of the core organizers for the West Virginia Book Festival, as an advocate for the Sissonville Library within that community, as an active member of leadership meetings within the library system, and as a member of the staff Morale Improvement Team and Newsletter team, among other things.

As one of the key organizers for the West Virginia Book Festival, a two-day event held at the Charleston Convention and Civic Center, Michelle works with a team of staff members and representatives from community organizations to plan and execute an event of this magnitude.  Michelle assists in every aspect of planning of this event, from finding and arranging for authors that will appeal to a wide range of people, assisting in set-up of the space for the event, picking up and escorting authors around Charleston and at the event location during the Festival, answering any number of questions from staff and festival goers, and so much more!

As mentioned above Michelle also plays a role in representing the Sissonville Branch Library in that community.  Michelle works closely with the Sissonville Library Advisory Board in a variety of ways.  She is supportive of their activities and accommodating of their schedules, needs, and information requests, all of which help the Advisory Board to help the library!  She has assisted the Sissonville Library Advisory Board in raising the branch’s assessment money in a variety of creative ways.  The Sissonville Library and Advisory Board hosted a mystery dinner theater production, in which Michelle played a key role in the production itself.  This play helped raise almost two-thirds of the funds needed for their annual assessment fees.  Michelle took an active role in organizing the first-ever Sissonville Community Christmas Festival.  This event included a parade, street fair, breakfast with Santa activity for families, a community tree lighting event, and a display of two community holiday trees, one especially for United States Veterans.  The Sissonville Library, in conjunction with community civic groups, welcomed 1,654 visitors on the day of the inaugural holiday event, with games, activities, crafts, and refreshments.

In addition to the roles that Michelle enthusiastically fills throughout the system and community, she also successfully fulfills her role as Branch Manager.  She leads her staff by example with her strong work ethic, positive attitude, and diplomacy in all situations.  She is an approachable and friendly supervisor, efficiently keeping her staff on task.  When managers and supervisors throughout the system were tasked with increasing the number of programs offered to library patrons, Michelle played an instrumental role in creating and executing these programs with her staff.  They were able to double the number of programs that are presented each month at the Sissonville Branch Library.  Michelle spearheaded the implementation of the Cookbook Club program at the Sissonville Library, which received national attention in an article published by BookList Magazine.  She also enjoys interacting with patrons and helping them to stay actively involved in reading.  She recently implemented an initiative to promote checking out the library’s materials, by giving patrons an incentive punch card where their card is punched each time they check out materials.  Once the patron has received ten punches on their card, they can select a free book sale item of their choice.

Michelle has proven time and again – within the library system, representing KCPL in the community, and as an advocate for her staff and branch – that she deserves this award.  She has the knowledge, talent, and leadership skills to share her love of the library and motivate others to do the same.  All of these reasons and so many more make Michelle the deserving winner of the Linda G. Wright Award for Excellence in Library Service.

*The Linda G. Wright Award for Excellence in Library Service is an individual achievement award which recognizes a Kanawha County Public Library staff member who has contributed to outstanding customer service, as well as showing exceptional leadership, initiative and willingness to share their skills with others in the organization during the past year. KCPL is dedicated to providing excellent public service in a community where learning and reading are revered and being well-informed is valued.

Previous Award Winners
  • 2019 – Nina Bess
  • 2018 – Gary Turpin
  • 2017 – Linda Brumfield
  • 2016 – Henry Pickens Sr.
  • 2015 – Pat Abbott
  • 2014 – Terry Wooten
  • 2013 – Craig Lefteroff
  • 2012 – Susan Saylor
  • 2011 – Mike Burgess
  • 2010 – Toni Blessing