[Michlib-l] Outstanding Librarian Award Winner 2020: Fran Hotchkiss

Angela Semifero semiferoa at marshalldistrictlibrary.org
Wed Apr 22 08:20:34 EDT 2020

As a member of the RLC Awards committee, I'm delighted to have the chance
to highlight our Outstanding Librarian of the Conference, Fran Hotchkiss.

Not every librarian can say they started shelving books at their hometown
library before they finished kindergarten but Fran Hotchkiss did just that.
Her lifelong commitment to her local library, her community, and her
profession make her our Outstanding Librarian of the Conference.

Having grown up across the street from Brandon Township Library, Fran was
an avid visitor there since she was a small child. At age 11, library staff
started paying her $1.00 an hour to complete small tasks at the library and
at age 14, with a work permit, she was hired part-time. In 1979, right
after she graduated from high school, she was made Head of Children's
services and continued in that role for many years, helping to raise
generations of children with her "Frantastic" storytimes and programs. In
addition to running literacy programs at Brandon Township Library like Baby
Rhyme Time, Reading and Rhythm, "1,000 Books before Kindergarten," and
"Battle of the Books," Fran has truly extended library services to meet her
community wherever they are.

Now serving as Community Outreach Liaison Librarian, Fran spends her time
and tireless energy providing more than 30 outreach programs each month.
These include providing school lunchtime programming, contacting adult
foster care and senior centers, working with local homeschool populations,
and participating in community events. Fran developed weekly programs at
the Sashabaw Hills Mobile Home Park. This included seeking grant funding to
support initiatives such as building bookshelves for more than 40 children,
donating books to each child’s collection, and partnering with local
individuals such as yoga instructors, dentists, and Spanish teachers to
help teach children new skills. She also developed Health and Wellness
initiatives such as “Stories and Steps” and takes the library’s “Meet Up
and Eat Up” program on the road with her programs. Another initiative Fran
developed to get books into the hands of children is the “Books in
Businesses” program, in which children’s books are given to local spaces
where children may have to wait with their parents such as auto repair
service shops, doctor’s offices, and fitness centers. She even took her
new-found interest in learning to play the dulcimer to develop a “Do-Re-Mi”
dulcimer program for children.

The Outstanding Librarian of the Conference not only makes significant
contributions to her library, but invests herself in efforts to bring about
positive change in the library community. Fran has been active in the
Michigan library community for years, serving on Michigan Library
Association committees and serving as a leader in planning the annual
Spring Institute conference.  Fran has developed workshops and
presentations on storytelling and programming that have been put on
throughout the State of Michigan. Fran was honored by the Michigan Library
Association as Children’s Librarian of the Year in 2004 and by her alma
mater, Wayne State University, with the Professional Services Award in

Fran is active in her community, supporting youth through a variety of
initiatives outside of her library work. As a member of the Brandon
Groveland Youth Assistance Committee for more than a decade, Fran has
taught and supported free parenting classes and presented at anti-bullying
events, youth recognition nights, a suicide prevention program. She has
done everything from directing children’s plays at church to acting as a
judge for the VFW Patriot Pens Competition.  Her nominator, Robin Loughlin,
stated in her nomination “I am reminded of the closing scenes of the movie
“It’s a Wonderful Life” when George Bailey’s brother calls him the richest
man in town. Fran is the richest woman in town through the relationships
she has built and the lives she has impacted.  This community would not be
what it is today without the caring, compassionate, encouraging Miss Fran!”


Sonya Schryer Norris, Library of Michigan

Carol Dawe, director, Lakeland Library Cooperative

Angela Semifero, director, Marshall District Library

Dion Mindykowski, director, Tahquamenon Area Library

Martin Gibbs, Library of Michigan Foundation Board Member
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