Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Birmingham Public Library Board President Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch Receives National Citation Award for Distinguished Service

Gwendolyn WelchThe Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF), a division of the American Library Association, has selected Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch to receive the ALA Trustee Citation, which recognizes public library Trustees for distinguished service to library development, outstanding contributions, and efforts that library board members make in their community. The award, given since 1941, is the highest honor that ALTAFF bestows on its members.

"Words can't express how honored I am to have been selected for this award. I share it with all of the citizens of Birmingham,'' Welch said. "Libraries mean the world to me and I look forward to continuing to serve our city's system.''

Welch has served as library board president for four of the 10 years she's served on the board. She has also served as vice president, parliamentarian and chaired every library board committee at some point during her tenure. Prior to becoming a board member, Welch served as a school media specialist from 1975 to 1996 and volunteered at several Birmingham library branches. Nationally, she serves as trustee-at-large on the ALTAFF board.

Welch said she works to improve the way the library system serves the public. One way of doing that is through developing strong leadership on the board. She created the library system's “Board Buddies” program, where new trustees are paired with experienced library board members to "learn the ropes'' and understand the process of serving on the board. She's worked to build relationships between the board and library staff by inviting employees to meetings and recognizing them for their good work.

Only one other person has been selected to receive the 2012 ALTAFF Trustee Citation award, and that was a library trustee from Illinois. Welch and the other trustee will be honored later this month during the Opening General Session of the 2012 ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif.

For more information, contact Angela Fisher Hall at (205) 226-3610 or Also, go to, or contact Jillian Kalonick at (312) 280-2161 or

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