Congratulations to the Jackson County Library System on their Oregon Resource Award for 2017 Public Employer of the Year!
This award is in honor of the JCLS's work with Pathway Enterprises, Inc. and is in recognition of the JCLS's significant contribution to the employment of individuals with disabilities.
The Foundation recently sat down with Laura Kimberly, Medford Library Branch Manager and program liaison, to ask her about the award.
Foundation: Congratulations! Can you tell us more about this honor?
Laura Kimberly: Thank you! Through my work with Pathways, I created a work environment where the employees feel like they're part of the staff - they're welcomed and appreciated. I gave them continuous feedback, including coaching the crew, working closely with staff to address issues, asking them questions, and so forth. We welcomed Pathways with open arms, and they look forward to coming here. We advocate for the Pathways employees and make sure the Library needs are met while supporting the staff.
F: Do you have a favorite story about working with Pathways?
LK: Yes, we were able to fully involve them in our annual Comic Con. I worked with Rick [the Pathways Contract Services Director] to go over the Comic Con layout and review Pathways' needs for the site. We walked the building with the employees, gave them official Comic Con tshirts, and they worked the event alongside the Library staff and volunteers. Afterwards they told me that they loved it - they were part of the event and able to help create that fun and excitement for our Library patrons. They met lots of people, saw their costumes, and just took in the whole experience.
F: What does this award mean to you?
LK: The crew is wonderful, and I love that they're excited to come to work here. I think what really gets me is that Rick started telling stories of things I didn't realize people paid attention to. That the employees are recognized for their contribution to making a difference in someone's life. And that's what libraries truly embody - a comfortable space where everyone is welcomed and included.