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Insider Article [October 2013] [10/01/13] (Presidents Award)
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2013 CLA President's Award Winner: Supervisor Joe Simitian

The CLA President’s Award recognizes outstanding contributions, leadership, and achievement in support of California libraries by a trustee, friend, elected official, or other lay person who has given his or her time and talents to further the advancement of California libraries.

As a school board member, mayor, county supervisor, Assembly member, and State Senator, Supervisor Joe Simitian has been a passionate supporter of the transformational role libraries play in the lives of individuals and communities. CLA and its members are incredibly fortunate to have such a dedicated, knowledgeable, and effective advocate working on behalf of libraries.

Supervisor Simitian has previously been honored with the CLA Legislator of the Year Award in 2003 for his work in the California State Assembly to preserve library funding in the state budget. However, in the decade since then he has continued to tirelessly promote the value of libraries at the state, regional, and local levels. As a State Senator, he authored major library legislation, including a 2007 Library Construction Bond bill (which ultimately didn't pass the legislature) and the 2011 modernization of the State privacy law regarding library use records.

Supervisor Simitian is also in demand as a speaker, particularly on the topic of library advocacy, and has shared his wisdom with hundreds of librarians, library workers, and library supporters through his presentations for California Public Library Advocates (formerly CALTAC) and local events such as the Santa Clara County Library District’s Annual Friends, Foundations, and Commissions Forum.

A lifelong reader and library user who credits his leadership development to the inspiration he got from reading biographies at his childhood library, Supervisor Simitian is an accomplished public servant who thoughtfully gives back to the libraries that inspired him as a young person. For Supervisor Simitian’s numerous contributions to California libraries, I am honored to have the opportunity to show our collective gratitude by bestowing upon him the 2013 CLA President’s Award.

Derek Wolfgram
CLA President