From the left, Legislator of the Year Sen. Paul Wojno, D-Warren; Rising Star Danielle DiAmico; Heart of a Champion Donna Adams; and Librarian of the Year Cathleen Russ are honored at the Michigan Library Association 2019 Awards Oct. 17 in Novi.

From the left, Legislator of the Year Sen. Paul Wojno, D-Warren; Rising Star Danielle DiAmico; Heart of a Champion Donna Adams; and Librarian of the Year Cathleen Russ are honored at the Michigan Library Association 2019 Awards Oct. 17 in Novi.

Photo provided by the Michigan Library Association


Troy Library Director Cathy Russ named top librarian in the state

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published November 12, 2019

TROY — Cathleen Russ, director of the Troy Public Library, said she resisted getting her librarian credentials for a long time.

Before she got her master’s in library science — a requirement to be a director at larger libraries — she had charge of the circulation department at the Bloomfield Township Public Library, then became director of the Center Line Public Library.

Russ explained that the Center Line Public Library — a member of the Suburban Library Cooperative, of which the Troy Public Library is also a member — as a smaller library, didn’t require that the director have a master’s in library science.

“I really liked being the director,” Russ said.

So at the urging of her friend and colleague Tammy Turgeon, who serves as director of the Sterling Heights Public Library and the Suburban Library Cooperative, Russ earned her credits for the master’s in library science that she needed to serve as director of the Troy Public Library.

Turgeon nominated Russ for the 2019 Michigan Library Association Librarian of the Year. Russ was honored with the award at the MLA conference in Novi Oct. 17.

“As we read through the letters of support for Cathleen’s nomination, it became clear that she has been a guiding force for Michigan librarians on both a micro and macro level — she has mentored library professionals one on one, taught our profession’s fundamentals and ethics in formal classroom settings, coached colleagues at statewide workshops, and advocated for all Michigan libraries on the board of the Michigan Library Association,” said Juliane Morian, MLA Awards Subcommittee member and annual conference chair, in a prepared statement. “In short, Cathleen elevates librarianship from occupation to vocation.”

Russ has served as director of the Troy Public Library since 2007. She holds a Master of Library and Information Science from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Arts, Honors, Communications from Loyola University Chicago. She currently serves on the board of the Michigan Library Association.

In her nomination letter, Turgeon highlighted Russ’ mentoring of library science students, new library science graduates and those who have been in the profession.

“Cathy is a leader,” Turgeon’s nomination states. “Cathy’s nomination truly stands out because she believes she would not be where she is today if she hadn’t had great mentors herself.”

In addition, Russ received letters of support from directors at the Rochester Hills Public Library, Orion Township Public Library, Romeo District Library, Canton Public Library, Troy City Manager Mark Miller and Assistant Library Director of the Troy Public Library Phillip Quik.

“Cathy is a trusted and truly special employee who leads a library critical to the community,” Miller said in his letter of support.

“I’m very honored. I’m very flattered,” Russ said. “The people who use the library are the best.”

Russ also praised the city leaders and the city and library staff.

“I am the luckiest person,” Russ said. “I have a job I love. And the staff at the Troy Public Library really cares, goes the extra 2 miles.”