Tom Malinowski, middle school librarian at the Glen Ellyn Public Library (GEPL), was named “Library Employee of the Year” at the Annual Glen Ellyn Community Awards ceremony hosted by the Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce at Abbington Distinctive Banquets in Glen Ellyn on Tuesday, Feb. 11.
The Community Awards is a chance to recognize “the best of Glen Ellyn”—employees, businesses, residents and volunteers—and all those who dedicate their time and talents to better the town. Each year, award recipients are determined by nominations submitted through a publicly accessible form on the Chamber website.
Well-known and beloved by the community, Tom is “consistently trying new things and providing unique and innovative programs and services for middle schoolers,” said Heather McCammond-Watts, youth department director at GEPL. “We greatly value his collaborative teamwork, his sense of fun, and his positive, ‘can-do’ attitude.”
For Tom, getting inspired by what kids are reading and talking about is the best part of his job. “I smile immensely whenever I hear how excited they are about what they’re reading,” he said.
“Tom’s positivity is infectious,” added McCammond-Watts. “He represents the library with integrity and enthusiasm, and his first instinct is to say ‘yes’ when anyone has an idea or needs some help.”
The ongoing challenge of adapting library collections to changes in population and diversity, as well as incorporating emerging technologies into library programming and services, is a key part of Tom’s role.
“People of all ages use the library in various ways, and I’m fortunate to help facilitate their experiences. I want to help the community in any capacity—foster literacy skills, teach new perspectives, and help everyone have fun while at the library. I’m honored that my co-workers and the Glen Ellyn community feel I’m up to this task!”
According to his youth department colleagues, “Tom knows which TV shows we must watch, which board games are worth playing, and how to make a really good pun.” If you’re ready for a riveting read, he recommends Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of “The Children’s Ship” by Deborah Heiligman.