This week, the American Library Association (ALA) Washington Office announced that Dan A. Aldridge of Winterville, GA is the winner of the 2016 White House Conference on Library and Information Services (WHCLIST) Award. Given to a non-librarian participant attending National Library Legislative Day, the award covers hotel fees and includes $300 stipend to defray the cost of attending the event.
A longtime library advocate and patron, Aldridge served two years as the President of Friends of the Braselton Library (FBL). He was elected to the board of Friends of Georgia Library, where he currently serves as Vice President and will assume the role of President in April 2016. In his own words, Aldridge plans to:
“…dedicate the next two years to supporting and advocating for libraries throughout Georgia because I firmly believe, as nineteenth century industrialist Andrew Carnegie said, “A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people.”
As a result of his hard work and dedication, FBL saw notably growth in their membership and even earned them an annual award – the Fabulous Friends Award – from the Friends of Georgia Libraries. The FBL membership has seen unprecedented growth, and as a result has been able to increase their support of Braselton Library. Their fundraisers have provided the library with new computer equipment, supported eight new children’s programs, and increased the size of the Large Print Book and e-book collections at the library, among other accomplishments.
The White House Conference on Library and Information Services—an effective force for library advocacy nationally, statewide and locally—transferred its assets to the ALA Washington Office in 1991 after the last White House conference. These funds allow ALA to participate in fostering a spirit of committed, passionate library support in a new generation of library advocates. Leading up to National Library Legislative Day each year, the ALA seeks nominations for the award. Representatives of WHCLIST and the ALA Washington office choose the recipient.