The West Tisbury Free Public Library has announced that IT and reference librarian Rachel Rooney will be the first Linda Chapman Fellow, launching a new training program for library staff. The fellowship will be inaugurated at a brief ceremony on Wednesday, July 17, at 9 am, with the unveiling of a plaque at the circulation desk in the library lobby.
When West Tisbury library trustee Linda Chapman died unexpectedly in 2016, there was a deep sense of shock, grief, and loss. Linda had made enormous contributions to the art and science of teaching, not just in Westchester County, N.Y., where she taught both students and teachers, but nationally as well, serving often as a keynote speaker and presenter for the American Library Association. When she became involved in the West Tisbury library, she contributed this experience, along with her years of insight about integrating libraries and technology into the process of learning.
It was with this in mind that Stephen Chapman, Linda’s husband, created the Linda M. Chapman Fellowship. Supported by gifts from family and friends invested as a fund within the foundation’s endowment, the Fellowship subsidizes professional library training for one West Tisbury Library staff person per year. That staff person will be known as a Linda Chapman Fellow, and his/her name will be added to a plaque at the circulation desk each year.
The Fellowship, its plaque, and its growing list of staff names over many years, will be a way to honor Chapman physically at the library while at the same time putting the commitment of her values and the library’s mission into everyday practice. Her legacy will benefit generations of future librarians, and the plaque will gradually become an honor roll of the community’s librarians who were touched by this gift, which honors Rooney’s generosity and thirst for lifelong learning.
The West Tisbury Library Foundation invites contributions to the Linda Chapman Fellowship fund: P.O. Box 1238, West Tisbury, MA 02575. Inquiries about other thoughtful memorial gifts to the foundation’s endowment are also welcome.