Marathon Library earns accolades from state library association

MARATHON — A state library association recently gave two awards to the Marathon Public Library: one for “small community librarian of the year” and another for “small community library advocate.”

The awards came from the Small Community Libraries Round Table, a program within the Texas Library Association. Dara Cavness, director at the Marathon Library, won the award for small community librarian. Board member Erin Albright won the advocate award for “demonstrating what it means to be an extraordinary volunteer,” the Marathon Library said in a news release.

In a statement, Arlene Griffis, board chair for the local library, said she was honored the library was winning awards — and to have Cavness and Albright working there.

The award was “thanks to Dara and Erin who, working as a team, have made the library what it is today,” Griffis added. She cited their work with Marathon Independent School District to bring more educational opportunities to the library.

Both Cavness and Albright have stood out for their work at the library. Cavness helped create a “warm and welcoming environment” for children and was “absolutely key as to why our library is flourishing today,” Griffis said.

Her success can be measured in the visits to the library. There were more than 9,500 unique visits in 2019, Griffis said — up from around 850 in 2013.

Albright, meanwhile, has long been an active community member at the library — serving as the secretary, president and board treasurer since 2013.

Albright’s communication skills helped the library expand its services and programs, Griffis said. And perhaps most impressively, she also netted the library $300,000 in gifts by using those skills for grant writing.

Albright “exemplifies the very best of a servant leader — someone who always focuses on the needs of others first,” Griffis said.

“They lead by example,” Griffis added of both Albright and Cavness. “Thanks to them, today the Marathon Public Library is Marathon’s heart and soul.”