At a brief ceremony during staff appreciation day Thursday May 26, Library Director Marilyn Laubacher announced the winner of the annual Ruth M. Connell Award, longtime Baldwinsville resident Bonnie Kisselstein. The award is named for Baldwinsville Public Library's first librarian, who Bonnie remembers as her first librarian when her parents brought her as a little girl to the original Baldwinsville library, which was then housed in a trolley station near the four corners.
The award recognizes employees of the library for exemplary service. The recipient is considered the employee of the year, receives a $100 stipend and is listed on a plaque, which is on permanent display in the library. Each year, the director keeps the recipient a secret until the presentation ceremony. Everyone on the staff is eligible for the award, but must be nominated by a coworker. A committee consisting of two board members and the library director consider all nominations and select the recipient in May of each year.
Kisselstein is a part-time reference librarian who also works as the Lysander town historian. She is known to the entire staff and many patrons as the best person to consult when any question about local history arises.
Meg Van Patten, who has worked at Baldwinsville Public Library for more than 30 years, nominated Kisselstein for the award.
"Bonnie is willing to go the extra mile when helping patrons. She even comes in [when she isn't scheduled, just to help] patrons who might need in depth assistance," Van Patten said.
Kisselstein has documented her history work so other librarians can help patrons with local history questions. One of several projects Kisselstein has accomplished is "Bonnie Kisselstein's Walking Tour of Baldwinsville," which is available both in print and as a DVD from the library.
"Bonnie has taken on working with our local history collection with a dedication that has increased the extent and usefulness of the collection," Library Director Marilyn Laubacher said. "Bonnie is very enthusiastic about Baldwinsville history and life in general. She loves to share her knowledge with others and is a willing volunteer in many places in Baldwinsville. She never misses the chance to add to the resources of the library and her ears perk up whenever someone is talking about local history."