On May 24, 2017, the Friends of the St. Michael/Albertville/Hanover Library presented the first ever Jean Haller Scholarships to two STMA seniors at the annual STMA High School Local Scholarship Awards Ceremony. The library sits on land that once was the Haller family farm. Jean Haller was a member of the original Friends of the Library group. At her passing, she left the Friends group $10,000. It is through her generosity that we awarded these $500 Jean Haller Scholarships to STMA seniors, Ethan Cornell and Abbey Estep.
Applicants for this scholarship were asked to write an essay in which they discussed the importance of libraries to communities, as well as how libraries have been, and will be, important in their own lives. In his essay, Ethan talked about his own grandmothers, who impressed upon him the importance of libraries to a community. He said that his grandmother, “…emphasized to us that libraries are a place where people from the community come together to read, discuss books, and learn about and research new ideas.” It is the mission of the Friends of the Library to advocate for and support our local library so that all individuals, regardless of income, culture, or beliefs have access to free resources that will allow them to do just as Ethan said, come together and learn. In his future, as a student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Ethan says that the library will continue to be a place of community and learning for him.
In her essay, Abbey quoted author Jerzy Kosinski who once said that the library, “’…was one place I could find out who I was and what I wanted to become…’” The library was just that for Abbey, a place that provided resources from which she could discover who she was. Abbey also said that libraries are safe spaces where relationships and communities are formed. She says that in her own future, as she studies at the College of St. Benedict, she will continue to grow as a person and build relationships because of the resources that the library can provide her.
The Friends of the Library group is always looking for new members. We encourage all of you to join us on the first Monday of each month as we discuss ways in which we can support the library.
The staff of the library, as well as the Friends of the Library group, wish to congratulate both Ethan and Abbey.
Terri Evans, Secretary of the Friends of the Library Board
Ethan Cornell, STMA Senior and Jean Haller Scholarship Recipient
Abbey Estep, STMA Senior and Jean Haller Scholarship Recipient
Marla Scherber, Library Services Coordinator, St. Michael Library