I can't possibly embarrass Steve more...
...than I already did by nominating him for Library Journal's Paraprofessional of the Year award. Oh, and guess what? HE WON.
The best part is, when LJ called him to offer congratulations and announce that he won, he was too busy doing his job to take the call. Poor John Berry had to call three times before he could get through to Steve.
He's the first guy to win, and at a wee 30 years old, definitely the youngest. Rock on.
After I found out (and after the squealing and jumping up and down and running in circles), I totally blew the "keep it under your hat" nudge from LJ and told almost everyone I know. For the non-library folks, it mostly translated into a text message that referred to a "big deal dorkalicious nat'l library award."
You should go get your hands on a hard copy of the magazine. The cover is awesome, but I especially like his smiling face in the picture that goes with the article. My only complaint is that the article is too short. I wanted more Steve stories! I had to make do with reading the same two pages about a dozen times.
Here's a little excerpt from the 365 words that got the whole mess started:
It is in the small details that Steve truly demonstrates his delight in the role that the library plays in people’s lives. He is a constant source of encouraging words and fun ideas...Steve sees the best in other people, and he employs this same sense of visionary optimism in his approach to libraries. He inspired me during the time we worked together, and he continues to challenge me to make my own dreams of an extraordinary library into a reality.
Now, I knew from the start that Steve would win. He's just that fabulous. But a little premeditated persuasion couldn't hurt. When I wrote the nomination, I spent a lot of time thinking about the people that would be reading it and choosing the winner. I knew that, in the end, they'd have to write an article about the winner. So I didn't just tout Steve's accomplishments and sing his praises, I served them up a good story. I'd been planning to nominate him for about a year, so I saved it up until he turned 30 because it has a nice ring to it. I talked about his mom, who also works as a paraprofessional (at the same library!), and I gave one small, understated example of his day-to-day work. I threw in a nice atmospheric comment about the library where he works. I talked a bit about Steve the person, not just Steve the library employee. And I didn't even come close to using the full 500 word allotment.
So, Steve, you've just won LJ's Paraprofessional of the Year award. What are you going to do next?
Well, since the conference and award ceremony are in Anaheim, there's really only one answer. We're gonna go to Disneyland.