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Bissonnette named top librarian

Library Director Sheila Bissonette with her recent award and State Librarian Randy Riley. at the Loleta Ryan Small/Rural Libraries Conference.

Library Director Sheila Bissonette with her recent award and State Librarian Randy Riley. at the Loleta Ryan Small/Rural Libraries Conference.

Sheila Bissonnette, director of both the Harrison District Library and the Pere Marquette District Library, was recently awarded the Outstanding Small/Rural Librarian Award for the State of Michigan. This award “recognizes a librarian who is an outstanding leader in the profession,” one who “has made a significant contribution to her library in efforts to bring about positive change in the small/rural library community.”
Pictured above is Sheila with State Librarian Randy Riley after receiving this very prestigious award at the bi-annual Loleta Ryan Small/Rural Libraries Conference at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, attended by over five hundred librarians from across the state.

Both the Harrison and the Clare libraries have become district libraries under her leadership, a huge benefit to the health and future of both libraries, and Sheila finds time to serve on many forward thinking committees and boards in Clare County, including the Broad Band Committee for Clare County and the Clare County Community Foundation.

She has headed an enormous building project in Clare, the result of which is a beautiful, brand new building with many touches that could only have been conceived by someone who actually knows what it is like to work in a library and to serve the community. In Harrison she was responsible for finding funds for a massive remodeling project, transforming the tired, sad interior of our aging library into a colorful, modern showplace.

Sheila is always open to new ideas and new ways of meeting the needs of the community. Both libraries have cutting edge technology and offer classes to anyone interested in bettering his/her computer skills. Last year she brought a Smithsonian exhibit, “The Way We Work” to the Clare library.

Both libraries were among the first non-academic libraries to participate in Michigan Libraries for Life, a program to educate and to encourage patrons to join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. She has also stood behind the creation of the very successful Read and Feed Community Garden in Harrison aimed at improving the health and quality of life in our county.

Sheila lives with her husband Paul and two children Nathan and Abigail in rural Clare County.

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