On May 14, the Baldwinsville Public library posthumously awarded Constance (Connie) Ebner, a 15-year employee of the library, its 2009 Ruth Connell award. She was notified that she had won the award the day before her untimely passing on May 12. The library held a reception in her honor on May 14 and the award was presented to her sister, Cathleen Johnson, also an employee of the library.
Connie was an active quilter participating in two area groups and spent 20 years teaching Baldwinsville fourth graders the basics of her favorite craft at the annual Colonial Festival. Over the years she also used her tutoring skills to lead many grateful students through the mysteries of arithmetic from multiplication tables to calculus. In her 15 years at the library, she used her skills at finding patterns and solving problems to great advantage.
Connie was often the "go to" person when problems arose. Her combination of analytical skills and pleasant manner helped unravel a number of problems in the back room and at the front desk. She was an expert at reuniting the separate parts of complex media packages, finding the perfect placement for difficult to handle items and untangling a snarled workflow. Her pleasant manner in person and on the telephone helped smooth out complaints and find solutions that worked for the library, the patron and other staff members.
Connie's efforts were particularly exemplary this year as she helped us adapt to the many changes brought about by our new cataloging and circulation systems and the recent loss of Betty Ursell another library veteran. In addition to the long hours she spent at the desk keeping materials moving and in the backroom processing books to add to the collection, she always found time to acknowledge and inspire her coworkers. She leaves behind her a lifetime of good friends and honest effort and some very big shoes to fill.
The award, named for Baldwinsville Public Library's first librarian, is made to recognize an employee for exemplary service above and beyond their job description and comes with a $100 stipend. All staff members are eligible to be considered for the award, which is decided by a committee comprised of the library director and two board members, based on nomination letters by coworkers.