Theresa Denton has been named LIASA Western Cape Librarian of the Year for 2012.
Theresa is the Senior Librarian at Rocklands Library, and she is passionate about libraries and believes that libraries can become an active role player in changing communities. Theresa lives out this passion for her community and her library. The sustainable partnerships that she has established with various organisations within her community demonstrates this. These organisations range from the Community Care Organisation; "Hands off our children" NGO; to the Carnation Ward at G F Jooste Hospital; to the Rocklands Primary "Siyafunda Community Project". There is an early childhood development forum and she established sustainable literacy and reading programmes in the library and surrounding schools.
To empower the women in her community, she started an Adult Matric group, which met regularly in the library where they were provided with question papers, memos, support and motivational talks. Over the years , more than 20 women, older than 30, have been helped through their matric - and this included having a matric ball to celebrate the achievement. What is absolutely fantastic is that most of the matriculants are actively either working in libraries, or establishing school libraries in the area or studying further for their library degrees! What a wonderful inspiration!
When accepting the award at the Branch AGM on Friday 24th August 2012, Theresa acknowledged the influence of librarians on her when she was growing up. The light of librarianship has been passed on to her, and in turn, she is passing this on to others. A true role model!
What makes this story even more inspiring, is the road that Theresa took to get here - having walked a similar walk to these women she inspired. With finishing her matric at night school, and then completing her studies at UWC; and then getting offered a junior lectureship, but opting instead to take up a post as a librarian at Rocklands. Academia's loss is public libraries' gain!
Under her leadership, Rocklands has scooped four provincial awards over the last five years from the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sports. These were for "Most Involved Community Library", "Best Children's Services", "Best Youth Services" and "Best Public Library". One of her nominees remarked that she hoped that this time, Theresa would win an award for herself, for inspiring us all. A real role model and example for us all!
Theresa is a graduate of the Carnegie Library Leadership Academy as well as the Train the Trainer Programme.
Congratulations Theresa! She now goes forward to represent the Western Cape at the national leg of the LIASA Librarian of the Year.