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2021 OELMA Award Spotlight on Judy Gawelek, 2021 Floyd Dickman Programming Award Recipient

Today we spotlight the amazing Judith (Judy) Gawelek, recipient of the 2021 Floyd Dickman Programming Award. 
The Floyd Dickman Programming Grant honors the life and contributions of Floyd Dickman by partnering with Junior Library Guild to create the Floyd Dickman Programming Grant. This grant is awarded to one school library in Ohio each year to help fund programs that inspire children to embrace the joy of reading. The grant will continue the work that Floyd was so passionate about during his lifetime.
Judy will receive grant monies in the form of books for Huber Ridge Elementary School in the amount of $250 from Junior Library Guild. 

Judy is currently a Library Media Specialist in Westerville City Schools (Huber Ridge and Whittier Elementary Schools) 


Q: How many years have you been a librarian/educator? 
A: 25 years if you count my 5 years in the Public Libraries.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A: A doctor, an author, and an Olympic swimmer
Q: What was your favorite book as a child and why?
A: A Wrinkle in Time. I was fascinated with the adventure, the way they moved through space and time, and the compelling characters. It was one of the first books I read with a book discussion group at our local public library.
Q: Who has inspired you in your professional career?
A: Rhonda Kiefer and Flora Doraski. We worked together in the children's department at a small library in Cuyahoga county. They gave me so many opportunities to learn and grow. At that job, I learned the art of storytelling, perfected my writing and book review skills, learned to manage schedules and creating book displays. We are researchers, folk singers, literacy boosters, and therapists. If not for them, I would not be doing what I do right now.
Q: What book have you read more than once? And why?
A: Cold Mountain. I love the imagery and the wandering plot.
Q: If you could "meet" any character from a book who would it be and why?
A: I can't answer this. The way I read, slowly, deliberately, I am meeting the character in the book. I usually carry them around with me until the next great book. If you pressed me, I might say, the Dog from "Go Dog Go", just to ride around to all those cool places or Odd from Gaiman's "Odd and the Frost Giants" to hear him tell of the adventures that didn't make the book.
Q: Do you have a fun fact/unique talent you would like to share with us?
A: I have 7 children and 8 grandchildren. Ethel, our youngest grandchild, was born this past July.
Q: What was your first job?
A: I was a McDonald's cashier for 9 months, then quickly changed careers to LifeGuard.
Q: What is the furthest place you have traveled?
A: Bangkok, Thailand
Q: What is your favorite tech tool or app right now that you cannot live without?
A: WeVideo and Safeshare: Both are easy ways to present safe video content to students. Wevideo for creating my own content, and Safeshare for using videos from YouTube.
Q: What inspires you the most about working in education and libraries?
A: Kids are inspiring. Finding great new literature is still exciting. Delving into the past or problem solving for the future with students never gets old.
Q: Would you like to say anything specific about your award and/or winning your award within your spotlight?
A: Thank you for honoring me with this award. I know the students at Huber Ridge will appreciate the new books provided by this award.