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General County News

Posted on: January 24, 2024

Hall County Library System employee receives state honor

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Georgia Public Library Service recently announced the recipients of the 2023 Georgia Public Library Awards, which honor public libraries and their champions who have made a profound difference in their communities. Award winners are selected from nominations submitted by library patrons, trustees, Friends of Libraries groups, and staff, showcasing the best and brightest who serve in public libraries throughout the state.

“Strong public libraries are essential to a prosperous state, and this year’s honorees showcase the vital role that public libraries play in post-pandemic recovery, competitiveness, and resilience throughout Georgia,” said Vice Chancellor for Archives and Libraries and State Librarian Julie Walker. “Our public libraries are a model of collaboration, innovation, and excellence.”

The Hall County Library System is delighted to announce that Lydia Hahne, business manager for HCLS, has been named Georgia Public Library Employee of the Year for her years of service and ensuring the library can serve its community by managing budgets, mentoring fellow staff, and taking on challenges beyond what is expected.

“It is rare to meet an individual who has devoted their entire working life to one organization. It is rarer to get the opportunity to work with someone who has demonstrated such devotion along with leadership, commitment, a passion for service, and an exceptional work ethic,” said Lisa MacKinney, library director of Hall County Library System.

Hahne began working for the library as a shelver when she was 15 years old in 1979. During her 44 years at the library, she has held several positions including administrative assistant, circulation assistant, and bookkeeper, and she currently serves as the library system’s business manager.  Many of the nominations Hahne received highlighted her commitment to the library during challenging times. When the library endured years of financial struggles stemming from the 2008 financial crisis, Hahne guided the funding and budgeting processes to ensure the library continued functioning with reduced services. 

“Her presence and reassurances that our library could continue to operate and serve the community helped keep staff morale positive,” said Bernice Cox, a member of the Friends of Hall County Library System. “Our library weathered this most difficult time in large part due to her judgment, her guidance, and her skills.”

Hahne's work has supported the library’s ability to introduce or expand services such as passport and notary services, as well as the restoration of many of the library system’s operating hours that were previously lost during the 2008 recession. The library has also completed several remodeling projects at multiple branches, with plans for a new East Hall branch in development.

Hahne is considered essential to the library’s functioning and an expert in her position who is known for offering guidance and helping others beyond what is expected. Leslie Clark, director of Chestatee Regional Library System, wrote. “Lydia exemplifies the spirit of collaboration, selflessness, and dedication to the wellbeing of the library community.”

Hahne is set to retire later this year. A community celebration in her honor will be held on March 15, 2024 from 2-4pm at the Gainesville Library. For more information, contact Hall County Library System at (770)-532-3311 Ext. 134.

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