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Board of Regents Salutes Thomas County Librarian on Being Named New York Times Librarian of the Year

Atlanta — April 17, 2007

Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. and the Board of Regents saluted the services provided by Georgia’s public libraries and one South Georgia librarian in particular at the board’s April meeting at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro today. Davis and the board formally recognized the accomplishments of Nancy Tillinghast, director of the Thomas County Public Library System in Thomasville, who recently received the library world’s equivalent of the Oscar — a New York Times Librarian of the Year Award.

Now in its sixth year, the Times’ program honors librarians from around the country who have provided outstanding public service and have had a strong and positive impact on their communities. This year’s winners represented 17 states, and this is the third time that Georgia has produced a winner.

Tillinghast follows in the footsteps of 2003 winner Silvia Bunn, branch manager at the Mildred L. Terry Branch of the Chattahoochee Valley Regional Library System in Columbus, and 2005 winner Scott Routsong, children’s services librarian at the Brunswick-Glynn County Library.

According to the Chancellor Davis, Tillinghast’s exemplary service demonstrates the value the University System of Georgia adds to the communities it serves through its Georgia Public Library Service unit.

“We are very proud that Georgia librarians have received New York Times Librarian of the Year awards three times in the past four years,” he said. “Librarians fill vital roles in our state and in our society. They bring together communities and foster the pursuit of knowledge. This national recognition for Nancy and her staff is well deserved. The innovative and community-focused library services in Thomas County and elsewhere in Georgia are models for public libraries across the United States.”

More than 1,300 nominations from 45 states were submitted to the Times for this year’s awards. Tillinghast was nominated for the award by Liz Crockett, director of the Thomasville Community Resource Center.

In her letter of nomination, Crockett praised Tillinghast and her staff for their tireless efforts to instill the love of reading in Thomas County’s citizens, to organize workshops for its service organizations and to increase the accessibility of library service in the county’s most rural areas. “Without Nancy out there talking to every organization and community group, I doubt that Thomas County would have voted in the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST),” Crockett wrote. The SPLOST supports a number of education-related initiatives in the county.

Rep. Mike Keown (R-Coolidge) and Rep. Ellis Black (D-Valdosta) recently joined the Thomas County Public Library board of directors in congratulating Tillinghast and the entire library staff at a celebratory brunch. In March, The Thomasville-Thomas County Chamber of Commerce also honored Tillinghast as its 2007 Woman of the Year.

“As working librarians, we often don’t get a lot of attention,” Tillinghast said. “We just do our jobs and strive to give our best efforts to our communities. I am so overwhelmed by this recognition that I’m speechless. It is not really for me, however; it’s our library that’s being honored, along with Thomas County and the State of Georgia.”

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