One of the library’s volunteer presenters, Val Germann, received the HERO Award for Outstanding Volunteer in Education/Literacy on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. The library nominated him for his 31 years of doing the "Party With the Stars" program.
Unless one heads to the observatory on campus on a night it's open to the public, the library is one of the few places the general public can go and talk with someone knowledgeable about the night sky. (Val taught astronomy at Columbia College for 20 years.) According to librarian Nina Sappington, "For some it's a child's first taste of science that's not in a book, and Val is able to make it come alive."
The program is free and open to everyone. When we have clear skies, instruction includes an interactive component that allows attendees to view the heavens through a high-powered telescope and binoculars that Val provides. Thanks to Val's willingness to give his time and knowledge, we are able to offer this program many times throughout the year, giving a large group of people a chance to learn more about the universe.
Our mission at the library is to connect our communities to the world of information and ideas and our vision is to encourage reading and lifelong learning. Val's programs are in keeping with both of those goals.
We estimate that "Party With the Stars" has attracted 10,000 visits over Val's 31 years of doing the program at the Columbia Public Library.
The Columbia Daily Tribune works with the Voluntary Action Center to present the HERO Awards. Landmark Bank is also a sponsor.