Official joint news release from the Mary Riley Styles Public Library and the City of Falls Church Office of Communications.
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Eric Alrecht Wins Inaugural Chet DeLong Award for Outstanding Service to the Library

Monday, October 26, 2020-- The Mary Riley Styles Library Foundation has chosen Eric Albrecht as the first recipient of its newly-established Chet DeLong Award for Outstanding Service to the Library.

The Foundation's news release reads that Mr. Albrecht was selected "from among many worthy and deserving library staff because he reflects the qualities that Mr. DeLong has brought to library service over the past 25 years." The award includes a $1,000 cash prize.

"It's said that the library is one of the gems of our Little City," said Albrecht. "I think it is -- and largely because of the great -- innovative and hard-working staff and volunteers. I am honored to accept the first Chet DeLong Award for Outstanding Service as part of this team." (Mr. Albrecht's full comments are below.)

The Foundation's news release gives more details:
Eric Albrecht was born in Falls Church and has called the City home for over 37 years. He has worked at the library’s circulation desk for 16 years. At the desk he is friendly and thoughtful in his approach to patrons. If someone expresses an interest or need related to any library program or service, Mr. Albrecht takes the time to inform the patron how to access it. This is the kind of professionalism that enhances the welcoming, community feel of our library.

Mr. Albrecht's coworkers know him as patient, supportive, and knowledgeable -- always willing to lend a helping hand. Since coronavirus disrupted our lives this spring, Mr. Albrecht has shown outstanding flexibility, positivity, and supportiveness to other staff members as they worked together to reimagine library services and to improve outreach to patrons. The library values and appreciates this adaptable and service-oriented attitude.
Mr. Albrecht's Acceptance Speech
Thank You! Imagine being noted, honored, and awarded for doing something you so much love to be doing. Let me give three examples:
  1. Seeing the beaming face of a child when that child gets their first library card and checks out an easy reader.
  2. Organizing and co-hosting a Mystery Book Discussion Group for our patrons.
  3. Coaching a patron on how to access and download digital audiobooks from our collection so they can listen to them in their car.
This is a deeply rewarding way to be contributing to the community. It's said that the library is one of the gems of our Little City. I think it is, and largely because of the great, innovative and hard-working staff and volunteers. I am honored to accept the first Chet DeLong Award for Outstanding Service as part of this team.

I am grateful and blessed to be working with them, using our talents for the same goal: serving our community.

About the Award
The Chet DeLong Award for Outstanding Service, in the amount of $1,000, was established in 2020 by the Mary Riley Styles Library Foundation. It is presented annually to a library staff member or volunteer who has shown the qualities of dedication and public service that exemplify the civic life of Chet DeLong.

Mr. DeLong has supported the Mary Riley Styles Public Library in many vital ways over more than 25 years:

Library Board of Trustees: Mr. DeLong has served for over 25 years on the library’s governing board. As board member and vice-chairman, he helped to guide library policy, supporting three different library directors. Over the past decade, he was crucial to planning the renovation of the library, including advocacy with the City Council. In 2016, he spearheaded efforts to successfully pass a library bond referendum, which financed the renovation and expansion project that began in March 2020.

Library Volunteer: Mr. DeLong has volunteered his services at the library for 26 years. For up to 300 hours per year, he has worked behind the scenes at the library, mostly in Technical Services assisting the intake of new material and the deletion of old items, and supporting the library’s ongoing book, CD and DVD sale.

Library Foundation: While on the board, Mr. DeLong championed the idea of a fundraising organization to support the library. After the organization was established in 2004, he served as Financial Officer and fundraiser for many years. The Foundation provides annual assistance for library materials, services, programs and equipment. 

Eric Albrecht (far right) poses with (left to right) Ed Rose, Foundation Board Member, and Chet DeLong in front of the Library's temporary location.
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