Stephanie H. Hartwell-Mandella
Head of Youth Service
Katonah Village Library
Katonah, New York
Stephanie has turned the library into a community hub that is welcoming for all. Through the library’s programs and resources, she helps to bring awareness around diversity, multiculturalism and LGBTQ issues.
For example, she created Gospel Fest, where local groups and choirs perform at the library during Black History Month. She put up special displays in partnership with the National Museum of African American History and the Louis Armstrong House Museum.
One of the library’s patrons said, “There is magic in her programs.”
Stephanie is commended for her commitment to inclusivity. After vandals carved swastikas into trees and walls at the local middle and high schools, Stephanie worked with the Anti-Defamation League to bring a Holocaust survivor and author to the library. She made sure the library was a safe space where community members could discuss difficult issues.
By partnering with the local chapter of the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network’s “Shared Stories Open Minds” program, Stephanie used the book “I am Jazz” to start a community dialogue about transgender students.
As the guardian of the library’s pet turtle, Tina, Stephanie helps children learn about science. Tina is a way to introduce nature to children in a familiar and fun way.
Her nominator exclaimed, “Our librarian is so great, people want to move to our town so that she can be their librarian!”