Olga Valencia Cardenas, a librarian at Stanislaus County Library in Modesto, California, started a book club at the local Juvenile Hall and Juvenile Commitment Center for young men a couple of years ago. It wasn’t long before word started to spread out about how popular and successful the book clubs were, and how thrilled the youth were to have their ideas and opinions heard.
For her amazing work, going truly above and beyond her role as a local librarian, Olga was chosen to receive the I Love My Librarian Award, which comes with a $5,000 cash prize. While most people might have used the prize money for personal reward, Olga donated every cent to create a new Juvenile Justice Center Library at the Juvenile Hall and Juvenile Commitment Center. To her, the success of the book clubs showed that the need for a library at the Hall was paramount.
Though the money was obviously important for the completion of the project, none of this would be possible without Olga’s drive to do so much more for the community than expected. Olga is an inspiration to us all and her extraordinary generosity shows that any one person can change the world.
Olga Valencia Cardenas, youth services outreach librarian, Stanislaus County Library.