Auburn librarian receives statewide kudos for her work with youth

When Stephanie Reinhardt sits down with children at the Auburn Area Branch Library, she’s doing much more than reading a story. Reinhardt, who runs the children’s department at the branch, illustrates that children are important and libraries are fun.

At bottom left is Stephanie Reinhardt, who works in the Auburn branch library and who was honored by the statewide library association earlier this year.It’s that attitude that earned Reinhardt honors during the Michigan Library Association virtual conference this fall. Reinhardt won the Frances H. Pletz Award for Excellence for her work with youth at the Bay County Library System.

The Frances H. Pletz Award is named for the former Executive Director of the Michigan Library Association and is given to a Michigan library staff member who has made significant contributions to youth.

 “Stephanie interacts with her patrons from the youngest to the oldest and talks to them at their level,” says Linda Austin, managing librarian at the Auburn Area Branch Library and Reinhardt’s supervisor.

“Interacting with children at their level is the kind of behavior that impresses on the children that libraries are fun and that the people working there think they are important. This type of behavior will bring the children back when they become adults.”

Over the past three years, Reinhardt has implemented programs that increased attendance by nearly 84%. Austin says Reinhardt also made school outreach a priority, connecting with the local elementary students.

Austin says not only does Reinhardt work well with youth, she’s an inspiration to her peers, and dedicated to patrons of all ages.

“Her ability to collaborate across departments, and motivate her peers by sharing her vision for service and outreach,” are what make Reinhardt the ideal candidate for this award.

Over the last few years BCLS has been recognized for service to its patrons. Along with individual awards, BCLS also earned the State Librarian’s Excellence Award for meeting the needs of the community.

Visit to learn more about BCLS and its award-winning library staff.

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