Lamar Paris and Donna Howell
Union County Commissioner Lamar Paris and
Mountain Regional Library System Director Donna Howell at awards banquet in Augusta, Georgia

October 23, 2009 - Paris wins prestigious library Award for service in Union County

Union County Commissioner Lamar Paris has been awarded the 2009 Charles Beard Library Advocacy Award from the Georgia Library Association (GLA).  Commissioner Paris was selected for the award that is designed to honor someone not employed in a library that has made outstanding contributions to libraries. 

Commissioner Paris accepted the award from GLA Awards Committee Chair Lori Lester at the Georgia Council of Media Organization Awards Banquet in Columbus on October 8, 2009. His acceptance remarks won a standing ovation from the more than 100 librarians, library trustees, friends of libraries, and library administrators. 

Commissioner Paris is only the second elected official to receive the award (Governor Zell Miller won it in 1998), and the only County Commissioner ever to be so honored.  He was nominated by Donna Howell, Director of the Mountain Regional Library System, with supporting letters from Dr. Lamar Veatch, State Librarian, Susie Brendle, Union County Librarian, and Jeanie Bullock, President of the Friends of Union County Library.

Lamar Paris has been a supporter of the Union County Library for many years - even before he was elected to office. As Union County Commissioner, Mr. Paris has issued yearly proclamations in honor of National Library Week and National Friends of Libraries Week (highlighting the role libraries and Friends of Libraries play in the community). In 2008, Paris included funding for library renovation and expansion in a county-wide capital SPLOST referendum. He worked closely with Friends of the Library to get the word out and the initiative passed by 80%.

After the successful SPLOST vote, Mr. Paris approached Mountain Regional Library System Director Donna Howell about applying for a state capital outlay grant so that the library project could fully meet the needs of our growing community. With his help, the grant application was completed. He has worked diligently to insure that every item on the grant checklist - from surveys to guarantees of local funding was provided to the state in a timely way.

In February 2009, Mr. Paris attended Library Day at the Capital to meet legislators, state officials, and others to make sure they were aware of our library project, the need for it, and the impact on our local community. Mr. Paris is one of only a handful of county elected officials to ever attend the annual library legislative day in its more than 20 year history. This was not unnoticed by legislators.

Commissioner Paris continues to be very active in the process of supporting public libraries especially in Blairsville, Georgia. Both he and members of his staff are currently serving on the Union County Library's building committee. The local library system has benefited greatly from Commissioner Paris' active involvement in the community, his far-sighted view of what the library can be in the community, and his willingness to share that vision and enthusiasm with those in our community (and throughout the state). Congratulations to Commissioner Paris for winning the 2009 Charles Beard Library Advocacy Award!

See Lamar Paris photo gallery