Sarah Bleyl, director of the Lompoc Public Library System, has been announced as the second nominee for the 2017 Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize.
Bleyl (rhymes with “smile”) was named to represent the entire staff at the Lompoc and Vandenberg Village libraries and the Charlotte’s Web bookmobile, all of which have taken on new life in the two years Bleyl and her band have been together.
“It’s not me,” she said. “The staff is the best people I’ve ever had. I’m proudest of the way our staff works together. When people come to me with new ideas, I say, ‘Let’s try it.’”
She reeled off the names of her three professional colleagues: Xochitl Rocha (Youth Services), Sara Bankston (Library Manager and Adult Services) and Rachell Frazian (bookmobile).
Between them they have grown the summer reading program from 900 to 1,900 participants and added a crafts club, knitting and crocheting club, two coloring clubs (one for kids and one for adults), Lego club, book club at the Village Library, a series of video game events, bilingual story time for preschoolers, Movie Monday, a Facebook page and other social media links and doubled the Homework Club to two days a week. They even have a library app.
In nine years with the Kern County Library System, Bleyl worked her way up to assistant director, a position in which she oversaw 25 branch libraries. When she interviewed for the Lompoc job, she met City Manager Patrick Wiemiller.
“Patrick said, ‘Libraries make a difference in the community in the long run,’” she said. “He said all the things I believe.”
Nominations can be made prior to Dec. 1 by calling committee chairperson Allie Kay Spaulding at 741-7000 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Peace Prize ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Valley of the Flowers United Church of Christ in Vandenberg Village.