Library director Georgia de Araujo receives outstanding service award

Published 1:05 am Saturday, April 22, 2023

Each year, Kentucky Public Library Association presents the Outstanding Public Library Service Award to one deserving individual. The purpose is to recognize the contribution of an administrator whose career has exemplified a combination of excellence in local service with promotion of libraries on a regional or broader basis. This year the recipient of the award was Boyle County Public Library director Georgia de Araujo.

Earlier this year, a group of library enthusiasts (composed of current and past BCPL board members, current and former library leadership and staff) nominated de Araujo, BCPL’s retiring library director, for the award.

The nomination stated that de Araujo’s 37-year career has been devoted to the Boyle County Public Library. In 1986, after earning a Master of Library Science (MLS) from the University of Kentucky, she joined the BCPL staff just as the library was planning to convert its paper card catalog to a digital system — a project she was hired to lead. In the decades since, de Araujo has guided the staff and board into many new frontiers to expand access, outreach, and public service to the community.

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De Araujo was named assistant library director in 1991, supervising staff and daily operations. In 2013 she became the library director. Across these roles, de Araujo has been a major force behind the library’s growing reputation as an inviting and creative oasis for personal growth and civic engagement.

De Araujo’s commitment to bringing engaging programming to the community has resulted in attracting a wider group of library users. Under her leadership, the library has hosted numerous special exhibits drawing thousands of people to the library. In 2018, BCPL hosted the Kentucky Science Center’s “Science in Play 2 Go” interactive exhibit for children. Additional funding reimbursed school trips, leading to more than 10,000 visits. The library was selected to host the American Library Association’s “Thinking Money for Kids” exhibit over six weeks in 2019, and in 2021-22, BCPL showcased 120 dinosaur fossils and castings in an original exhibit of the collection of local dentist and explorer Jack Hankla.

In addition, de Araujo shaped the library’s approach to fine amnesty programs and to becoming permanently fine-free in 2021, leading that move among libraries in our region. With the goal of expanding accessibility for all, extensive library Outreach efforts now include a robust set of materials on the Bookmobile that are available without a library card, allowing every patron the opportunity to borrow a book and use library services.

Georgia de Araujo is a devoted citizen and community leader. She is a trusted supervisor with expansive knowledge and utmost integrity. She is a dedicated member of the public library profession, attuned to library trends and challenges across Kentucky. Hers is an exemplary and committed career, well deserving of this recognition from KPLA.