Local outreach librarian recognized with state literacy development award

On Thursday, May 18, Melanie Hornbeck received the Carol Mead Leaders in Literacy Award

A Laramie County Library System’s outreach librarian was recently recognized with a Wyoming literacy development award.

On Thursday, May 18, Melanie Hornbeck received the Carol Mead Leaders in Literacy Award from Kimberly Gustafson, director of the University of Wyoming’s Literacy Research Center and Clinic. Hornbeck was presented the award in front of an adoring group of fans: the kindergarten classes at Afflerbach Elementary School.

Addressing the group of students, teachers, family members and library employees, Gustafson said, “Because [Hornbeck] does so many wonderful things for boys and girls across Cheyenne and other places all the time, we want to acknowledge her and present her with this plaque.”

After an enthusiastic round of applause from the attending kindergartners, she continued, “I can tell not just by your reaction that Ms. Melanie is very good at what she does, but by all of her supporters here that came to celebrate her.”

Hornbeck was announced as a co-recipient of the 2022 Carol Mead Leaders in Literacy Award award in January 2023. She and fellow winner Jennifer Hayward each received a $2,000 grant to continue their work supporting literacy throughout the state of Wyoming. Laramie County Library System will utilize the funds to purchase books for students in Hornbeck’s group Summer Reading program.

In her role at Laramie County Library System, Hornbeck travels throughout the community to share storytimes that build early literacy skills and foster a love and excitement for reading. Her direct models of interactive play, puppets, reader’s theaters and songs make reading an enjoyable, entertaining and exciting opportunity for the children she visits. She also invites each and every student to come into the library and continue their exploration of reading and literacy, leading to an increase in accessibility.

In the University of Wyoming’s news release, Hornbeck’s nominator stated, “Melanie’s openness and encouragement have single-handedly brought countless parents and children into the library for the first time and keep them returning faithfully with gratitude.”

In the same news release, Gustafson applauded Hornbeck, stating, “Hornbeck encourages students to develop positive relationships with reading and literature by creating meaningful opportunities for them to engage with texts starting at a very young age.”

In addition to a plaque, Hornbeck received hand-drawn congratulatory cards from the students, many of whom drew photos of her reading to them in their classrooms. The awards presentation concluded with celebratory milk and cookies for everyone in attendance and a final round of applause for Hornbeck’s unwavering dedication to furthering early literacy efforts in the Laramie County community, an achievement that was made heartwarmingly evident by the overwhelming reactions of excitement and appreciation exuded by the students in the room.

To learn more about the Carol Mead Leaders in Literacy Award, read the original news release by visiting http://www.uwyo.edu/uw/news/2023/01/uws-lrcc-announces-2022-co-winners-of-carol-mead-leaders-in-literacy-award.html.